Fatah is opposed to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s initiative to form a unity government with Hamas, a Fatah official said on Sunday.

Amin Maqboul, secretary-general of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, said that Fayyad’s initiative was “unreasonable and unacceptable.”

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He also said that the initiative was a “private” plan that did not reflect the policy of Fatah.

Maqboul said that Fatah was mainly opposed to Fayyad’s plan because it envisages the establishment of a unity government with Hamas before solving the dispute with Fatah.

Fatah is also opposed to the plan because it keeps security in the Gaza Strip in the hands of Hamas, he added.

The Fatah official said that the issue of reconciliation with Hamas and the formation of a unity government were not up to Fayyad, who is from the Third Way party, to decide on.

“These issues are decided by higher parties and not the prime minister,” he said. “This is a political issue and not an administrative one.”

The London-based pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Fatah was “very angry” with Fayyad for coming out with the initiative.

“Fatah rejects Fayyad’s attempt to jump into the scene of reconciliation [with Hamas] in this manner,” the paper quoted Fatah sources as saying. “It looks as if Fayyad is going to rule the West Bank and Gaza Strip together with Hamas. Doesn’t Fayyad know that this is none of his business?” Fayyad announced last week that he’s prepared to travel to the Gaza Strip to talk with Hamas about the establishment of a “national unity” government. Fayyad is reported to have agreed to allow Hamas to maintain control over security in the Strip, which it took over in June 2007 after driving the PA out.

Fayyad believes that reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah should not be a precondition for including the Islamist movement in a unity government.

Hamas has also rejected Fayyad’s plan, saying he does not have a mandate to talk about the formation of a new government.

Fayyad was recently entrusted by PA President Mahmoud Abbas with forming a new government that would consist of as many Palestinian factions as possible.

Fayyad’s efforts suffered another setback on Sunday when the deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Hasan Khraisheh, called on all Palestinian factions to boycott the new Fayyad government.

Khraisheh said that the government that Fayyad is planning to establish lacks the approval of the Palestinian parliament and would therefore be illegitimate.

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