Hamas considering Qatari peace plan, with reservations

Not ready to renounce violence, recognize Israel as demanded by international community.

October 9, 2006 22:17
1 minute read.
qatari fm and abbas 298.88

qatari fm and abbas 298. (photo credit: AP [file])


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The spokesman for the Hamas-led government on Tuesday said the group has reservations about a Qatari proposal for forming a new Palestinian unity government. The spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, told reporters that Hamas is not prepared to renounce violence or recognize Israel as demanded by the international community. However, he said the group is ready to continue negotiations based on the Qatari plan and hopes to hold a meeting with PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, this week.

  • Checkbook diplomacy? Hamad spoke a day after Qatar's foreign minister, Sheik Hamad bin Jassem al Thani, arrived in Gaza to present his plan. Qatar's foreign minister failed to win an agreement for a Palestinian unity government that would lead to restoration of vital Western aid to the West Bank and Gaza in separate meetings late Monday with rival leaders. On arrival in Gaza after sundown, Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem al Thani met with Abbas. No progress was reported, but Abbas said, "Nothing has failed ... work is under way." After seeing Abbas, the visiting mediator left for a meeting with PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Al Thani told reporters afterward that his country's six-point plan for a unity government was the center of the discussion, but there was still no agreement on the issue of recognition of Israel. He said there were differences between the local Hamas leadership and its counterparts based in Damascus, but he gave no details. The West cut off aid to the Palestinian government in March, when the extremist Islamic Hamas set up a government after sweeping Fatah out of power in a parliamentary election. Negotiations over bringing Fatah back into the Cabinet have been going on for weeks, but without results. The West insists that before it restores aid, the Palestinian government must agree to three points - recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and accepting past Israeli-Palestinian agreements. The Qatari plan includes recognition of Israel, which runs counter to Hamas ideology. Yasser Abed Rabbo, an Abbas aide, said after the talks that agreement was not close "on the core issues." He said the Qatari initiative is the "last political effort," and if it fails, "the alternative is an early election." Al Thani planned to leave Gaza early Tuesday, but he said efforts would continue. He indicated that the international community should scale back its demands of the Palestinians, but he gave no details.

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