mashaal 298 with russian.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The new Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Hamas is taking shape, with a top Hamas leader saying that his group's local leadership in Gaza and the West Bank will be given the reins of power over the Palestinian cabinet in a few weeks from now.
"The future government will not include Hamas leaders from abroad," Dr. Moussa Abu-Marzouk said in an interview in Moscow. Abu Marzouk, deputy chief of Hamas's political bureau and Hamas second-in-command, along with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, are both based in Damascus.
Israel has threatened to act against any Hamas politicians involved in terrorist attacks, and has said no Hamas legislators would be immune if they took part in, planned or financed terrorist operations.
Abu Marzouk would not explain how he and Mashaal would interact with the local Hamas leadership, or what level of influence the foreign-based leadership would have on the Hamas-led PA. He added that foreign-based Hamas leaders would not be taking part in the actual work of the government.
Hamas leaders left Moscow Sunday night for Latin America and, following that, South Africa. Members of the delegation strongly denied that the Russian leadership tried to pressure Hamas to recognize Israel.
According to Muhammad Nazzal, another member of the delegation, "There was no Russian pressure on us and the decision is entirely a Palestinian one," and added that, "Hamas will recognize Israel only if Israel will recognize an independent Palestinian state and all of the rights of the Palestinians."