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Fayyad willing to visit Gaza to discuss Hamas unity deal
By JPOST.COM STAFF AND ASSOCIATED PRESS
23/02/2011
Comments come after PA prime minister offers Hamas unity gov't allowing them to continue ruling Gaza.
 
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad on Wednesday said he was prepared to go to Gaza to discuss with Hamas the establishment of a unity government, Israel Radio reported.

Hamas has responded with suspicion to the recent offer by Fayad to create a unified government that would rule until new elections, set for September, reported AFP on Tuesday.

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On Monday, Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil said that despite the lack of an "official initiative," by the PA to create the unity government, the Gaza-based group was inclined to work towards reconciliation founded on "full partnership, based on national constants and upholding the right to resist," according to the report.

Bardawil added, however, that "Fayyad does not represent the Palestinian leadership" and that due to his lack of legitimacy, the PA prime minister is "not authorized to speak about public affairs," Ma'an reported.

The details of Fayyad's plan appeared vague but proposed leaving much of the status quo in place. He said Hamas could retain security control in Gaza under his proposal as long as it preserved a cease-fire with Israel. Fayyad would continue to govern from the West Bank, and would work with Hamas to place both territories under a single governing authority.

"The split has been too long and should not continue, and it won't end by itself. We need to move to end the split," Fayyad said.

Fayyad refused to say who might lead the unity government, saying this would have to be worked out in negotiations. He said that as long as Hamas, which has fired thousands of rockets at Israel, agrees to maintain calm, all other issues could be resolved.

On Monday, Nabil Shaath, a top official in the Fatah Party, told The Associated Press that he would go to Gaza soon to negotiate with Hamas leaders to work out the terms for a unity deal.
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