But Hamas leaders have offered a long-term truce with Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state alongside it.
Israel could remove dozens of settlements-Peres
03 Mar 2007 21:00:11 GMT
By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM, March 3 (Reuters) - Israel could remove dozens of Jewish settlements from the occupied West Bank, Vice Premier Shimon Peres said on Saturday.
The number of the 121 settlements evacuated could be in the dozens, he said. "I think that a serious effort will be made to do that which we undertook to do which is removing settlements."
Asked if the Palestinian government could hold talks with Israel on the settlement evacuations and thus affect their scale and pace, Peres said: "If Hamas is willing to negotiate, recognize Israel and achieve peace, then definitely, yes.
Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Hamas, whose military wing helped spearhead a 6-year-old Palestinian revolt with a wave of suicide bombings, insists it will not formally recognise Israel. Hamas's 1988 founding charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
The Islamist group last month signed a power-sharing deal with the more moderate Fatah faction in the hope of winning Western approval.
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