Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will call a referendum on statehood, after Palestinian factions failed to agree on a proposal to set their final borders with Israel. Hamas now heads the Palestinian Government and has always refused to recognise Israel. Dr Abbas backs a Palestinian state based on Israel’s 1967 borders. After 10 days of talks, the main Palestinian factions have failed to make any headway on the issue and Dr Abbas will now carry through with his threat to put the matter to a referendum. Hamas argues a referendum would be illegal and any result not binding. An adviser to Mr Abbas, Saeb Erekat says Palestinians have to resolve the issue. ‘It’s either a two-state solution, negotiated settlement, or we go on the path we’re going on now where we have one authority with two policies,’ he said. ‘We’re isolated from the international community, the street fighting in Gaza is really escalating and deteriorating and the international community suspended its aid to us, and we have chaos.’ The referendum, expected in July, will be seen as a confidence vote in the two-month-old government and its policy of refusing to recognise […]

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