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Palestinian president sets date for 'national reconciliation' referendum

[JURIST] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile] on Saturday set July 26 as the date for a referendum [JURIST report] in which Palestinians will vote on whether to establish a Palestinian state and implicitly recognize Israel. Palestinians will vote on the "national reconciliation" document [text; summary], which was written by detainees from Palestinian factions who are serving time in Israeli jails. The document calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on land captured by Israel during the 1967 Mideast War [Wikipedia backgrounder].

Earlier this week, Abbas extended a deadline he had set for the governing Hamas party [ICT profile] to accept the proposed document. A Hamas spokesman in Gaza said, however, that the party would not accept the referendum decision and that it is presently "studying its options." Abbas said he planned to go to Gaza to encourage the factions to reopen their dialogue, and if the sides came to an agreement, the referendum would be cancelled. AP has more.

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