Cairo: Hamas, Fatah ink unity deal ahead of formal signing

ByJPOST.COM STAFF
May 3, 2011 15:59

Hamas officials: We'll honor unofficial truce with Israel; Zahar says Palestinian reconciliation deal is a direct result of Mubarak's ouster.

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Senior Palestinian faction leaders in Gaza, Monday

Palestinian factions on bus 311 R. (photo credit:Reuters)

Fatah and Hamas have signed a Palestinian reconciliation deal in Cairo, Al Jazeera reported Tuesday, citing an AFP report.

"We signed the deal despite several reservations. But we insisted on working for the higher national interest," Palestine People's Party member Walid al-Awad was quoted as saying.

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Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are expected to sign the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation agreement in Cairo on Wednesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Hamas officials were quoted as saying that the Islamist group would honor an unofficial truce with Israel after signing the unity deal with Fatah.

The anonymous comments came as an Egyptian paper reported that the two rival Palestinian factions will  maintain a Gaza truce with Israel following the scheduled signing of the deal. The Al-Ahram report quoted Palestinian sources.

Also Tuesday, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said the unity deal was the direct result of the uprising in Egypt and the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

On Sunday, Mashaal's deputy Musa Abu Marzouk was quoted as saying that Hamas would not recognize Israel’s right to exist, despite the agreement to form a Palestinian unity government.

“Hamas has a principled position regarding this issue,” Marzouk said. “We won’t recognize the Zionist entity. Our rights are still usurped and it’s illogical for us to recognize the Zionist entity because that would be at the expense of our stolen lands and our people in the refugee camps.”

Marzouk said that Hamas did not see any connection between recognizing Israel’s right to exist and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“Most of the Arab countries don’t recognize Israel, and yet they continue to deal with the international community,” he said. “And many European countries did not recognize Israel until recently. Therefore the international community should not look into this issue.”

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report

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