Fayad urges Hamas to form unity government

Sources tell Post that call for unity aimed at sending a "strong message" to Israel and the US.

fayad 224 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
fayad 224 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad on Saturday called for the establishment of a unity government with Hamas, saying it was time to reunite the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Referring to the recent IDF crackdown on Hamas-affiliated institutions in the West Bank, Fayad said: "The response to the Israeli measures should be the immediate reunification of the two parts of the homeland [West Bank and Gaza Strip]. We must end the division and restore unity immediately." Fayad's remarks were published in the London-based Al-Hayat daily. Calling on Hamas to accept PA President Mahmoud Abbas's initiative for "national unity," Fayad said he was prepared to form a transitional government to run the affairs of the Palestinians and prepare for new elections. Addressing Hamas, Fayad asked: "Why are you reluctant? We must not keep the homeland hostage to political differences. We must agree on a transitional government." Fayad expressed outrage over the IDF measures and accused Israel of seeking to sabotage his government's efforts to enforce law and order in the West Bank. Last week Fayad visited Nablus and urged residents not to comply with the IDF orders to shut down several Hamas-affiliated institutions. Fayad also paid a solidarity visit to the Hamas-dominated Nablus Municipality, which was also raided by IDF troops who confiscated files and equipment. Fayad said he was planning to dispatch some of his ministers to Nablus in the coming days to help those affected by the closure of the institutions. He added that he had filed a complaint with the US administration and the Quartet in protest against the IDF clampdown on the Hamas-affiliated institutions in the West Bank. Sources close to Fayad told The Jerusalem Post that his call for unity with Hamas was aimed at sending a "strong message" to Israel and the US. They said Fayad was particularly disturbed by the fact that the IDF measures came on the heels of a similar anti-Hamas crackdown he himself had ordered a few months ago. The Fayad government has closed down dozens of charitable organizations in the West Bank on suspicion that they were being funded by Hamas. "The last Israeli measures look as if they are linked to Salaam Fayad's crackdown on charities," the sources explained. "Many Palestinians are beginning to believe that the Israelis and the Fayad government are waging the same war against Islamic charities and schools." Hamas leaders responded to last week's IDF measures by launching a scathing attack on Fayad, holding him responsible for the closure of more than 30 institutions in Ramallah and Nablus. Saturday, Hamas rejected Fayad's call for unity and described him as a "major threat to the Palestinian cause." Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Fayad had solidified divisions among the Palestinians when he agreed, at the behest of the Israelis and Americans, to form an unconstitutional emergency government last year. "Fayad is the most dangerous man for the Palestinian cause," Barhoum said. "He has destroyed the Palestinian cause because of his beliefs and actions on the ground."