Palestinian unity deal on hold, Hamas official says

Consultations ongoing but two sides failed to agree on identity of caretaker prime minister; PA reportedly arrests dozens of Hamas men.

July 7, 2011 05:37
1 minute read.
Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh

Haniyeh and Abbas waving 521. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah has been put on hold, a senior Hamas representative in the West Bank said on Wednesday.

Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council, said that the two sides were nevertheless continuing to hold consultations on solving the crisis.

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Hamas and Fatah have failed to agree on the identity of the prime minister who would head a new Palestinian unity government, as envisaged by the reconciliation accord.

Fatah insists on the appointment of current Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Hamas, however, has strongly rejected Fayyad’s nomination.

Dweik called on Hamas and Fatah to implement the reconciliation agreement immediately so that the Palestinians could “confront Zionist measures that violate international laws.”

He complained that the PA was continuing to prevent him from entering his office in the PLC building in Ramallah for the fifth straight year. “There’s a conspiracy to keep the legislators away from their natural positions,” he charged, without elaborating.

Hamas on Wednesday accused the PA security forces of arresting dozens of Hamas supporters in the West Bank since the reconciliation agreement was announced in Cairo on May 4.

“Despite the signing of the reconciliation agreement, the Fatah security forces continued to arrest political activists and chase many others in the West Bank,” Hamas said in a statement issued in the Gaza Strip.

“This is a breach of the agreement.”

It said that since the agreement was announced, the PA security forces had summoned hundreds of Hamas supporters for interrogation and arrested 68, including 39 who had been released from Israeli prisons.

Hamas said that seven of its supporters had been put on trial before PA military courts during the same period. Four school teachers affiliated with Hamas had been fired, and several charitable associations and organizations had been closed down, Hamas added.

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