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Abbas Gives Hamas More Time on Palestinian Statehood Plan


Palestinian officials say President Mahmoud Abbas has postponed scheduling a referendum on a plan that calls for a two-state solution and recognizes Israel.

A close aide to Mr. Abbas, Yasser Abed Rabbo, says the decision was made following appeals from Arab governments. Rabbo says Mr. Abbas can call a referendum if Hamas does not accept the plan.

Hamas has already missed Mr. Abbas's initial deadline for accepting the plan. Officials say he is now willing to give Hamas a few more days to consider it.

Officials say Mr. Abbas has made clear that he will not accept any changes in the proposal, which was drafted by Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

The statehood plan calls for creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, on land Israel has occupied since 1967. Hamas opposes terms of the proposal and refuses to recognize Israel.

Fatah and Hamas have been locked in a power struggle since legislative elections in January, won by the militant Islamic group.
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