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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

World

UN vote is 'victory' for Palestinians: Hamas
AFP
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories, November 30, 2012
First Published: 07:19 IST(30/11/2012)
Last Updated: 07:21 IST(30/11/2012)

The Hamas movement in Gaza on Friday welcomed the UN General Assembly's vote to grant the Palestinians upgraded non-member observer state status, calling it a 'victory.'

"This is a new victory on the road to the liberation of Palestine and return and we congratulate ourselves," senior Hamas official Ahmed Yussef told AFP.

"We in Hamas consider this a shared achievement that casts joy on our people," he added.

Until this week, the Hamas leadership in Gaza had been opposed to the bid for upgraded status led by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who heads the rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

But after Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal expressed public support for the bid, along with other members of the leadership-in-exile, the Gaza government offered its own tepid backing.

It allowed rallies backing the request to go ahead in Gaza on Thursday, though there was little evidence that its own members were participating.

Hamas official in exile Izzat al-Rishq, writing on his Facebook page on Friday, also praised the General Assembly vote.

"We welcome the decision of the UN General Assembly to grant Palestine non-member observer state status, and we consider this to be a gain for our people, although Palestine deserves more than that," he wrote.

Hamas had in the past criticised the bid as a unilateral move, taken by Abbas without consultation with all the Palestinian political movements.

It had also warned that the bid, which makes reference to a Palestinian state on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War, could jeopardise Palestinian rights.

But the about-face on the issue, apparently led by the leadership-in-exile, has led to speculation that the Islamist group could be ready for another round of reconciliation talks with Abbas's Fatah movement.

The Palestinian leader has said his first priority after the UN bid will be to try to resume those discussions, which have led almost nowhere since the two sides signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo last year.


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