Hamas is ready to accept the right of Israel to exist as a “neighbour, next door, in peace" if a peace deal is approved by Palestinians, Jimmy Carter, the former US president, said today.
"They said they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians ... even though Hamas might disagree with some terms of the agreement," Mr Carter said during a speech in Jerusalem.
His speech capped a nine-day tour of the region, intended to break the silence between Hamas and the Western world. Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007 after routing Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Israel considers Hamas to be a terrorist group and has largely shunned Carter because of his meetings with Hamas' leader-in-exile, Khaled Mashaal, and other Hamas figures in Syria last week.
Mr Carter said Hamas had also promised to let Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier, send a letter to his parents, and said the militants had “made clear to us that they would accept an interim ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.”