Zahar: Abbas is not serious about reconciliation

Hamas leader says Abbas's reliance on "US-Israeli axis" prevents unity government with Hamas.

November 30, 2011 21:57
2 minute read.
Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar

Mahmoud al-Zahar smirking (R) 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is not serious about reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, Hamas leader Mahmoud al Zahar told pan-Arab daily Asharq Alawsat in an interview published Wednesday.

According to Zahar - a co-founder of the Islamist group - Abbas only wants to continue postponing full reconciliation. The PA president is unfit to "meet the requirements of reconciliation," and has set untenable deadlines for the formation of a government early next year and legislative and presidential elections in May, Zahar told Asharq Alawsat.

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Abbas's reliance on what Zahar called the "US-Israeli axis" also stunts the formation of a unity government with Hamas, because a Palestinian government including Hamas is not a welcome development in Washington.

The US views Hamas as a terrorist organization, and Israel has said it would not negotiate with a Palestinian government including a Hamas that refuses to recognize the Jewish state - something Hamas leaders have vowed will not change post-reconciliation.

The Hamas leader also accused Abbas's government of close ties with Jerusalem, something he said was evident by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's announcement Wednesday that $100 million in frozen tax revenue would be released to the PA.

"Israel is very comfortable regarding what the Palestinian Authority and its security apparatus is doing, and therefore the noise that is being made in some cases is nothing more than a deception to cover up the reality of the situation," Zahar told Ashaqr Alawsat.

On Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that his position vis-a-vis releasing the tax funds was clear: those funds belong to the PA, and it is used to support their security forces.

Zahar expressed optimism regarding "inter-Palestinian" reconciliation, however, saying that events throughout the Middle East supported a scenario where "all those who are committed to the resistance and the perseverance of our rights" can succeed.

The Hamas leader noted that the so-called Arab Spring has emboldened supporters of the "Palestinian cause," saying Israel's restraint in attacking terrorists in Gaza after a cross-border terrorist attack killed 8 Israelis was proof of the influence that the Arab street was having on Jerusalem.

According to Zahar, Jerusalem buckled to pressure following a violent protest in Egypt when a mob crashed the Israeli embassy in Cairo's Giza neighborhood, forcing Jerusalem to airlift more than 80 diplomats from the country.

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