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UPDATED: 20:12, June 08, 2006
Senior Hamas lawmaker urges Palestinian factions to continue talks
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Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and senior Hamas member Ahmed Bahar called on Palestinian factions on Thursday to continue talks over a proposal seeking Palestinian statehood.

Bahar said that the proposal was "a good base for dialogue", but at the same time voiced opposition to holding a referendum on the document, which is widely seen as implicitly recognizing Israel.

"We do not want to participate in the talks in order to hear threats such as going for a referendum which will lead to many political dangers," said Bahar.

Meanwhile, Bahar pledged that Hamas would be totally committed to its agreement with President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement to end media incitement and violence between the two groups' supporters.

On May 25, Abbas announced that he would call a national referendum on the proposal if Palestinian factions failed to agree on it by Tuesday.

He then extended the deadline until this weekend under calls by Arab leaders.

The proposal, also known as the Prisoners' Document for it was drafted by Palestinian leaders jailed by Israel, supports resistance against the Israeli occupation as well as a negotiated settlement with the Jewish state.

It also calls for the formation of a Palestinian national unity government and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Gaza Strip and West Bank with East Jerusalem as capital if Israel withdraws to borders before the 1967 Mideast war.

Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, has taken control of the Palestinian parliament and the government following a landslide election victory in January.

The group publicly calls for Israel's destruct and refuses to recognize the Jewish state's right to exist and abide by previous deals with Israel.

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza has said that the Abbas' call for a referendum was illegal.

Many Hamas officials have voiced reservation about or rejected the proposal.

Source: Xinhua

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