GAZA CITY - The head of the democratically elected Hamas in Gaza said on Tuesday the movement supported the creation of a Palestinian state in the territories Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day war.
"If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 and with full sovereignty, we are in favour of it," Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas's Gaza government, said after meeting former US president Jimmy Carter.
"We are pushing for the realisation of this Palestinian national dream, which is the creation of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said.
Haniya also praised US President Barack Obama's June 4 speech in Cairo to the Muslim world.
"We saw a new tone, a new language and a new spirit in the official US rhetoric," he said.
Israel, which wants to crush any Palestinian liberation movement, responded to Hamas's win in the elections with sanctions, and almost completely blockaded the impoverished coastal strip after Hamas seized power in 2007, although a ‘lighter’ siege had already existed before.
Human rights groups, both international and Israeli, slammed Israel’s siege of Gaza, branding it “collective punishment.”
A group of international lawyers and human rights activists had also accused Israel of committing “genocide” through its crippling blockade of the Strip.
Gaza is still considered under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.
The Rafah crossing with Egypt, Gaza's sole border crossing that bypasses Israel, rarely opens as Egypt is under immense US and Israeli pressure to keep the crossing shut.
Fatah has little administrative say in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and has no power in Arab east Jerusalem, both of which were illegally occupied by Israel in 1967.
Israel also currently occupies the Lebanese Shabaa Farms and the Syrian Golan Heights.