Hamas: PA hasn't contacted us over conciliation effort

By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 21, 2011 17:14

Gaza-based official tells Ma'an his group inclined to reach deal based on "full partnership, nat'l constants, upholding right to resistance."

2 minute read.



Masked Hamas men prepare for press conference

Hamas masks news conference Gaza 311. (photo credit: AP)

Hamas on Monday said that it has received any official contacts from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority government over a unity government proposal floated by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Sunday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil said that despite the lack of an "official initiative," 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.

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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.

Senior Fatah official Nabil Sha'ath on Sunday told Ma'an that contacts were in fact taking place and that it was "possible that we could shortly form a unity government which includes Hamas." He added, "This is essential if we are seeking to reach national conciliation."

With peace talks stalled and calls for democracy rising throughout the Middle East, Fayyad's boss, President Mahmoud Abbas, said this month he would hold overdue general elections in the West Bank this September.

But Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has said it would boycott the vote unless there is reconciliation first. Hamas won a parliamentary election in 2006, and a year later violently routed Abbas' forces and seized full control of Gaza.

Abbas has since appeared to backpedal, saying elections could not be held without Gaza.

Seeking to resolve the deadlock, Fayyad proposed forming a unity government with Hamas in order to hold the election on time.

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.


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