(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas is likely to reappoint Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to
head the interim government to be set up following last week’s unity deal
between Hamas and Fatah, Asharq Al- Awsat newspaper reported on
The London-based daily reported that Abbas believes appointing
Fayyad will send a positive message to the international community, particularly
the US and European Union. Abbas wants to project to the world that the future
government will be committed to the same plan as the current Western-oriented
Palestinian administration, the article stated.
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newspaper reported that Abbas will try to persuade his Hamas partners to accept
the reappointment of Fayyad to curb Israeli efforts to brand the new government
as illegal and ensure the flow of financial aid to maintain the PA’s ability to
pay salaries and other expenses.
Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad
faction are both expected to oppose Fayyad’s reappointment, as both resent his
record of clamping down on gunmen and coordinating security matters with Israel,
Media sources close to Hamas told the Egyptian daily
the Islamist movement is exploring a list of candidates for the premiership, the
front-runner being Gamal el- Khodary, an independent MP who heads the board of
the Islamic University in Gaza.
Khaled Mashaal, Hamas’s Damascus-based
politburo chief, refused to comment on Saturday on his group’s position
vis-a-vis Fayyad. “Our stance on the matter is clear, and we will update our
brothers in Fatah during the upcoming negotiations,” he told
Mashaal also criticized the PA’s ongoing arrests of Hamas
operatives. “We will never accept it, and will try to cross the existing
obstacles,” he said.
Mashaal said that while not all Palestinian factions
support the Palestinian unity agreement, he hopes all of them can reconcile
Speaking of international pressure on Hamas to
recognize Israel, he said it is “unacceptable to ask the victim to recognize his
executioner,” adding that Hamas does not oppose Abbas’s efforts to use the unity
agreement to pursue peace negotiations with Israel for the good of the
On Sunday, Israel Radio quoted Mashaal as saying that
only after a Palestinian state is established will Hamas decide whether to
“No one has the right to demand from the
Palestinians... or from Hamas or any other Palestinian organization what
will happen after [the establishment of a state].
“When we achieve
Palestinian statehood we will be free and without occupation... Then the country
will decide its policy,” Mashaal was quoted as saying.