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Hamas leader urges Trump to seize ‘historic opportunity’

WASHINGTON: The leader of the radical Palestinian group Hamas called on US President Donald Trump Wednesday to break with past approaches to Middle East peace and find an “equitable solution” for Palestinians.

Khaled Meshaal’s comments came as Trump was due to receive Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at the White House to explore avenues for reviving the deadlocked peace process.

Interviewed by CNN in Doha, Meshaal said Trump has “greater threshold of boldness” than previous US administrations.

“This is a historic opportunity to pressure Israel … to find an equitable solution for the Palestinian people,” he said.

“And it will be to the credit of the civilized world and the American administration to stop the darkness that we have been suffering from for many years.”

Meshaal pointed to a policy document released Tuesday by Hamas that for the first time shows a willingness to accept the idea of a Palestinian state within borders that existed after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

READ MORE: New Hamas document accepts Palestinian state with 1967 borders

“This is a plea from me to the Trump administration — the new American administration — break out from the wrong approaches of the past and which did not arrive at a result. And perhaps to grab the opportunity presented by Hamas’ document,” Meshaal told CNN.

The Hamas document stopped short of recognizing Israel, however, and Hamas for years has called for its destruction.

“Israel doesn’t recognize Palestinian rights. When Palestinians have their own sovereign, free state then they can choose without outside pressure,” he said in the CNN interview.

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