Hamas masks news conference Gaza 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas on Monday said that it has received any official contacts from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority government over a unity government proposal floated by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Sunday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
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Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil said that despite the lack of an "official initiative," the Gaza-based group was inclined to work towards reconciliation founded on "full partnership, based on national constants and upholding the right to resist," according to the report.
Bardawil added, however, that "Fayyad does not represent the Palestinian
leadership" and that due to his lack of legitimacy, the PA prime
minister is "not authorized to speak about public affairs," Ma'an
Senior Fatah official Nabil Sha'ath on Sunday told Ma'an that contacts
were in fact taking place and that it was "possible that we could
shortly form a unity government which includes Hamas." He added, "This
is essential if we are seeking to reach national conciliation."
With peace talks stalled and calls for democracy rising throughout the
Middle East, Fayyad's boss, President Mahmoud Abbas, said this month he
would hold overdue general elections in the West Bank this September.
But Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has said it would boycott the
vote unless there is reconciliation first. Hamas won a parliamentary
election in 2006, and a year later violently routed Abbas' forces and
seized full control of Gaza.
Abbas has since appeared to backpedal, saying elections could not be held without Gaza.
Seeking to resolve the deadlock, Fayyad proposed forming a unity government with Hamas in order to hold the election on time.
The details of Fayyad's plan appeared vague but proposed leaving much of
the status quo in place. He said Hamas could retain security control in
Gaza under his proposal as long as it preserved a cease-fire with
Israel. Fayyad would continue to govern from the West Bank, and would
work with Hamas to place both territories under a single governing
"The split has been too long and should not continue, and it won't end
by itself. We need to move to end the split," Fayyad said.