Tibi: Israel should stay out of Palestinian battle

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) said Sunday morning that he was concerned by the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip and that for Abbas's sake, Israel must not get involved in the fighting, since such a move would only weaken Fatah. In an interview with Army Radio, Tibi also said that Abbas's call for early elections was not intended to oust Hamas from power, but rather to pressure the group's members to promote steps that would lead to the establishment of a unity government. "He left the door very open for the possibility…of renewing negotiations; the announcement of early elections without a date serves as leverage to bring the sides to the negotiating table and to come to an agreement," he said. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has advocated staying out of the fighting between Fatah and Hamas, saying that Israeli intervention could cause damage and instructing Knesset members on Saturday not to make public statements about Abbas's decision.