Abbas: Israeli issues preventing deal

PA leader "will talk with any elected PM;" warns Hamas he won't hesitate to exclude it from elections.

abbas hands up 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
abbas hands up 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that the only reason Israel and the Palestinians haven't reached a peace agreement is because of Jerusalem's internal problems. In an interview with the London-based daily Asharq Alawsat, Abbas said that he was ready to negotiate with any prime minister elected by Israel in 2009. The Palestinian leader expressed his disappointment with Hamas for preventing Gazan pilgrims from making Hajj to Mecca. He went on to compare the terrorist organization's takeover of the Strip to a Shi'ite sect that attacked Mecca in the 10th century. Abbas called on Hamas to enter talks with the Fatah-led PA and warned it not to trust any possible change in attitude toward the group by the next US administration. Abbas demonstrated his readiness to hold elections at any given time, but said he would not hesitate to exclude Hamas from participating. The Palestinian leader added that he intended to visit the US before the end of US President George. W. Bush's term.