Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya has affirmed that his government is ready to make a long-term-truce with the Israeli occupation government if Israel pulls out of all the 1967-occupied lands, releases all Palestinian prisoners, allows Palestinian refugees to return to their indigenous lands, and recognizes the legal rights of the Palestinian people.

Haniyya was speaking in an interview with the German news agency (DPA) at his office in Gaza city Tuesday.

He responded to a question by the agency on whether the truce will be an introduction to a comprehensive peace or merely a temporary ceasefire by saying, "The truce I am talking about is a true entrance to peace and stability in the region that could be further extended".

The prime minister clarified that the Palestinian people’s problem wasn’t with Judaism as a religion, as Islam respects all religions, but it was rather with the Israeli occupation that deprived the Palestinian people of their lands and legal rights for decades.

Further, the prime minister stressed that the prisoners’ document that was adopted as basis to the ongoing Palestinian national dialogue contained a lot of intersecting points among the various Palestinian factions, but, he added, it also contained a number of points that were not accepted by Hamas and other Palestinian factions, deeming it necessary to have further profound deliberation on it so as to come out with a united Palestinian stand.

The referendum called for by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas needed a legal and constitutional basis on which to stand, which it was lacking, Haniyya pointed out. "We have just concluded the election process and the people voiced their choice during the elections", he underlined; adding that if the Palestinian factions reached a consensus on the document, then it would binding for the PA government, without the need to go to a popular referendum.

Moreover, the prime minister welcomed the readiness of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to join a national coalition government, and participate in the multi-factional back up force created by the PA interior ministry, affirming that the door was wide-open for all other Palestinian factions including Fatah to do the same.

When asked whether his government was ready to recognize the Israeli state, Haneyya retorted that the ball is in the Israeli court as they should first recognize the Palestinian people’s rights to their lands. "We have clearly stated that we have no objection to holding contacts with Israelis on matters that concern the daily life of the Palestinian populace, but the suggestion was turned down by Israel", he elaborated.

He disagreed with the idea that Palestinian civil war could erupt due to continuous Hamas-Fatah frictions, adding that the term civil war wasn’t in the political lexicon of the Palestinian people. He explained that the prudent people from both parties were able to defuse any such incidents before it escalates, out of their concern for the national unity.

Furthermore, the prime minister criticized the three-month-old western financial blockade on the Palestinian people, warning that a prolonged siege will lead the entire region into chaos.

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