Hamas denies running ‘shadow government,’ says negotiations with Israel not imminent

Denial follows senior Hamas official suggesting direct talks with Israel.

September 13, 2014 09:39
1 minute read.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal meet in Doha August 21, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal said Friday that direct negotiations with Israel are not on the agenda, nor are they being discussed in the organization’s political echelon.

Mashaal’s comments came in response to remarks earlier this week by his deputy, Musa Abu Marzouk, who said that there was “nothing wrong” with negotiating “with the occupation,” adding that Hamas could be forced into talks due to political pressure.

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During an official visit to Tunisia, Mashaal noted that Hamas’s policy is to negotiate “indirectly” with the Jewish state “if necessary” – as was the case during the war in Gaza.

The Hamas leader, speaking to reporters after an official meeting with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, addressed another hot-button issue: the Palestinian “national consensus” government. “There is a national unity government with Fatah,” he said, rejecting claims that Hamas was running its own “shadow government” in the Gaza Strip.

Ministries and agencies in the coastal territory were still “operating normally,” he said, urging the Palestinian Authority to assume its responsibilities under the reconciliation deal. “There is no parallel Hamas government” in Gaza.

During his latest trip to Cairo, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas questioned the PA’s partnership with Hamas, saying his government has no de-facto power on the ground.

The Palestinian leader said he would not accept the status quo in which  Hamas ultimately runs the show with a shadow administration. “There must be one authority,” Abbas declared, “and one regime.”

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