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(photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
The Palestinian Authority is working toward removing Hamas from the US and EU list of terror organizations so as to pave the way for the Islamist movement to join a Palestinian unity government, PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath revealed on Monday.
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Sha’ath, who was speaking to reporters after meeting in Cairo with Arab League Secretary- General Amr Moussa, said he raised the issue with a number of governments during a recent tour of EU capitals.
“We are seeking to have Hamas removed from the list of terror organizations,” he said. “We want EU countries to recognize a Palestinian unity government that would include Hamas and other factions.”
Sha’ath said that his Fatah faction was keen on ending the dispute with Hamas.
“The current circumstances require us to reorganize our Palestinian home,” he added. “I have announced several times that we have accepted the Egyptian [reconciliation] initiative. We have agreed to a national unity government [with Hamas] that would implement the Egyptian document and prepare for elections.”
Sha’ath was referring to an Egyptian reconciliation plan that was presented to Fatah and Hamas in 2009.
He said that Fatah has accepted Hamas’s reservations about the plan, adding that he did not know why the movement was delaying its response.
“This is a question that every Palestinian and Arab should be asking,” he stressed. “My fear is that Hamas’s calculations about the Arab revolts are different than ours. We see that these revolutions’ main demand is unity and support for Palestinian rights.”
Sha’ath, a former PA foreign minister, said that a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation would embolden Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.
Last week PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad came under attack from Fatah
for offering to establish a unity government with Hamas. Fayyad’s
initiative was strongly criticized by Fatah because it allows
Hamas to retain security control over the Gaza Strip after joining the
In Jerusalem, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor responded by
asking why Sha’ath “pretends that the door has not been opened for Hamas
to gain respectability.”
The Quartet, Palmor said, clearly laid down the three conditions Hamas
needed to abide by in order to gain recognition: recognizing Israel,
forswearing terrorism and accepting previous agreements.
“Hamas has consistently rejected this platform to join the political
process,” Palmor said. “A solution has been on the table for years, but
Hamas still prefers to be the problem.”