Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh over the weekend called on the PLO to
withdraw its recognition of Israel’s right to exist in response to Israel’s
opposition to the reconciliation deal between his movement and
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Haniyeh told reporters in Gaza City that there was no
justification for recognizing Israel’s right to exist, in wake of its “denial of
the rights and unity of the Palestinian people.”
Israel’s presence “on
our land is illegitimate and we can’t recognize it,” he said.
ruled out the possibility that Israel would be able to thwart the unity deal,
which was reached in Cairo last week.
“We are moving in a way that serves
the interests of our people, and we don’t care much about the Israeli
positions,” Haniyeh said.
“Sincere intentions and a positive atmosphere
would ensure the success of the reconciliation accord.”
Ahmed Bahr, a
senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, urged Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas to ignore Israeli and American “threats” made in light of the
“The Israeli and American threats – especially those
calling for cutting off financial aid – have no practical or political value,”
The best way to confront the threats was by pursuing efforts
to achieve unity among the Palestinians, he said.
Hamas, meanwhile,announced that it would participate in the planned presidential election. The
Hamas- Fatah agreement calls for parliamentary and presidential elections within
a year, following the formation of an interim unity government.
Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar was quoted over the weekend as saying that his
movement expected to field a presidential candidate.
“In an election,
everyone has the right to run,” Zahar said. “This is a natural right.
believe we will have our candidate in this election.”
If true, it would
be the first time Hamas participates in a Palestinian presidential
In January 2006, Hamas candidates ran only in the parliamentary
(Palestinian Legislative Council) election, and won a majority.