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'Abbas likely to reappoint Fayyad to head interim gov't'
By OREN KESSLER
08/05/2011
Appointment of Fayyad will send a positive message to the int'l community, legitimize the future Gaza government, Arab paper reports.
 
PA President Mahmoud Abbas is likely to reappoint Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to head the interim government to be set up following last week’s unity deal between Hamas and Fatah, Asharq Al- Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.

The London-based daily reported that Abbas believes appointing Fayyad will send a positive message to the international community, particularly the US and European Union. Abbas wants to project to the world that the future government will be committed to the same plan as the current Western-oriented Palestinian administration, the article stated.

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Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper reported that Abbas will try to persuade his Hamas partners to accept the reappointment of Fayyad to curb Israeli efforts to brand the new government as illegal and ensure the flow of financial aid to maintain the PA’s ability to pay salaries and other expenses.

Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad faction are both expected to oppose Fayyad’s reappointment, as both resent his record of clamping down on gunmen and coordinating security matters with Israel, Al-Ahram reported.

Media sources close to Hamas told the Egyptian daily the Islamist movement is exploring a list of candidates for the premiership, the front-runner being Gamal el- Khodary, an independent MP who heads the board of the Islamic University in Gaza.

Khaled Mashaal, Hamas’s Damascus-based politburo chief, refused to comment on Saturday on his group’s position vis-a-vis Fayyad. “Our stance on the matter is clear, and we will update our brothers in Fatah during the upcoming negotiations,” he told Al-Jazeera.

Mashaal also criticized the PA’s ongoing arrests of Hamas operatives. “We will never accept it, and will try to cross the existing obstacles,” he said.

Mashaal said that while not all Palestinian factions support the Palestinian unity agreement, he hopes all of them can reconcile their differences.

Speaking of international pressure on Hamas to recognize Israel, he said it is “unacceptable to ask the victim to recognize his executioner,” adding that Hamas does not oppose Abbas’s efforts to use the unity agreement to pursue peace negotiations with Israel for the good of the Palestinian people.

On Sunday, Israel Radio quoted Mashaal as saying that only after a Palestinian state is established will Hamas decide whether to recognize Israel.

“No one has the right to demand from the Palestinians... or from Hamas or any other Palestinian organization what will happen after [the establishment of a state].

“When we achieve Palestinian statehood we will be free and without occupation... Then the country will decide its policy,” Mashaal was quoted as saying.
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