Fatah official Nabil Shaath (L) and Hamas deputy political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas announced on Sunday that the unity government established with Fatah over the summer has ended.
The unity government’s six-month term has expired, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said at a press conference in Gaza City, adding that talks would take place regarding a future government, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.
Hamas “isn’t interested in incitement, but rather seeks to maintain national unity,” he said.
Gaza’s leaders responded to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel and Hamas of secretly negotiating. Hamas called on the Palestinian president to stop spreading lies, Israel Radio reported, and accused Abbas’s forces of arresting its members for political reasons.
Zuhri said that Hamas “does not control the Gaza Strip at all.... If the national consensus government doesn’t want to take responsibility for Gaza, this doesn’t mean the government is exempted from this responsibility,” Ma’an reported.
Abbas said earlier that Hamas is completely responsible for Gaza, and not the joint Fatah-Hamas unity government.
He continued, saying that he will not negotiate over land with Israel, and accused Israel of holding secret negotiations with Hamas.
“I have evidence that Hamas and Israel are conducting negotiations,” he said.
According to an interview Abbas gave to an Egyptian TV station on Saturday, Hamas and Israel were directly negotiating in secret and reached “understandings,” Channel 10 reported.
The Palestinian president claimed in the interview that Israel offered Hamas control over 50 percent of the West Bank and that negotiations would be held over 15 years to decide on control over the other half.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.