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Palestinian Leader Threatens To Resign

Mahmud Abbas (file photo) (RFE/RL) 26 February 2006 -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has hinted he may resign if Hamas prevents him from advancing peace efforts with Israel.

In an interview with British television ITV1, to be broadcast today, Abbas insisted that the militant Islamic group's policies have to be "compatible with international" norms.

Hamas won a surprise victory in Palestinian elections last month. It has since refused Western demands to renounce violence, accept Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyah today set out Hamas's terms for a truce with Israel.

"I have stressed that when the Israeli occupation withdraws from the occupied lands of 1967 [captured by Israel in the 1967 war] including Jerusalem, releases the prisoners, and recognizes the right of refugees to return, Hamas then will have the possibility to give a long truce," he said. "And when I spoke [to 'The Washington Post'] about a gradual peace [process], I meant peace that will lead to the implementation of a truce through a political path."

Haniyah did not comment on Abbas's remarks.