By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
The Syrian-based leadership of Hamas said Thursday it has rejected an Egyptian-mediated proposal to reconcile with Fatah.
Hamas and seven other Damascus-based Palestinian factions issued a joint statement saying the reconciliation plan must be revised to include a reference to the Palestinian right to resist Israeli occupation.
"The wording submitted by Cairo to the factions makes no reference to the struggle [with Israel] and the aggression against our people," the statement said, adding the groups wouldn't sign the proposal unless it was amended.
Fatah on Wednesday said it had accepted the Egyptian proposal to hold presidential and legislative elections next year as part of a broad package meant to end the bitter rivalry with Hamas, which has complicated US-led efforts to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Fatah says it signed the proposal and dispatched an envoy to Cairo with the response Thursday.
Under the proposal, the Palestinians would hold presidential and legislative elections on June 28.
In the meantime, Hamas would allow some 3,000 Fatah loyalists to return to duty in the security forces in the coastal Gaza Strip. Monitoring committees would work toward establishing a unified Palestinian security force for Gaza and the West Bank, while the rival sides would form a separate committee to work together to prepare for the elections.
The Egyptian proposal has failed to address some key issues in the dispute - most importantly whether a unified Palestinian government would accept international demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.
Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel was a major point of friction in a short-lived Palestinian unity government that disintegrated during the Gaza infighting.
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