Supporters from the two Palestinian Authority factions have been shooting at each other in the streets for days, killing several people from both groups and wounding more than ten others, including eight children caught in the line of fire.
Meshaal exhorted the two warring factions to support a joint platform which called for “liberating Palestine, not recognizing Israel and adopting the path of Jihad and resistance”.
Islamic scholars at the two-day conference in Qatar issued a statement supporting “the right of the Palestinian people … to wage a holy war to regain all their homeland and liberate their land from the river to the sea”.
There was a stark contrast between the statements made by Meshaal and conference attendees, and an 18-point document signed on Thursday by Fatah and Hamas prisoners in Israel.
The document, seen as the first glimmer of a change in Hamas’ steadfast refusal to negotiate with Israel, describes a possible peace agreement based on an Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borders.
It is the first such plan signed by a senior Hamas official, Sheikh Abdel Halek Natshe of Hebron, and has been accepted by both Hamas and Fatah leaders. The document calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on “all the land occupied in 1967” as well as the “right of return for refugees and the liberation of all prisoners and detainees”.
The initiatve proposed by imprisoned former Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, also calls for a national unity government in the PA, to be led by Hamas and Fatah. The text was approved by PA President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, but no agreement has been announced from PA Prime Minister and Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh.