In Palestinian Power Struggle, Hamas Moderates Talk on Israel

Source: The New York Times

By

JERUSALEM — Hamas, the militant group built around violent resistance to Israel, sought on Monday to present a more moderate public face, taking its next shot in an intensifying struggle for leadership of the Palestinian cause and international recognition.

Released by Hamas just days before its chief rival, the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, was to meet President Trump, a new document of principles for the group calls for closer ties to Egypt, waters down the anti-Semitic language from its charter, and accepts at least a provisional Palestinian state — though it still does not formally recognize Israel.

With its statement, Hamas is trying to offer a more mainstream-friendly version of its vision for the Palestinian cause, and to gain ground against Mr. Abbas, whose influence is growing more tenuous.

Mr. Abbas is 82 years old, and his rivals within his own Fatah movement are increasingly open about the struggle to succeed him. Seeking to regain the initiative, he has recently waged a crackdown on Hamas, cutting salaries due to them from the Palestinian Authority and refusing to pay for electricity in the militant group’s power base in Gaza.

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