The Palestinian Authority is not demanding that Hamas recognize Israel’s right
to exist or accept any of the Quartet’s demands, including the renunciation of
violence, as a condition for the establishment of a Palestinian unity
government, Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah official and former PA foreign minister
said on Wednesday.
Asked to comment on claims by Hamas that the PA was
demanding that the Islamist movement recognize Israel’s right to exist as a
condition for achieving reconciliation between the two parties, Shaath said:
“This is completely untrue. We have never asked Hamas to recognize Israel’s
right to exist. Nor have we demanded that they accept the conditions of the
The Quartet has repeatedly demanded that any Palestinian
government renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist and respect previous agreements between the PLO and Israel as a condition for
receiving Western aid.
Shaath, in an interview with the Jordanian daily
Ad-Dustour, explained that the PA was only demanding that Hamas allow it to
conduct peace talks with Israel.
“We want the proposed unity government
to be committed to the PLO’s political program, as was the case with the unity
government under Ismail Haniyeh,” he said.
“The peace negotiations will
be conducted by the PLO. That’s all we’re demanding.”
Shaath said that he
has been urging European governments to drop their demand that Hamas
Quartet’s three conditions.
“All the Arab and Islamic states that don’t
recognize Israel have agreed to the Arab Peace Initiative,” he
“Acceptance of the initiative and a cease-fire [with Israel] is
Shaath claimed that there was a difference between
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and those in Syria.
“Although there's a
big difference between the two, I’m optimistic and I believe that it’s
possible to break the siege on the Gaza Strip and achieve Palestinian