Monday, September 25, 2006

Haniyeh fans the embers of unity government

From Reuters, Sun Sep 24, 2006, by Nidal al-Mughrabi [empahsis added]....

GAZA (Reuters) ....Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said on Sunday talks on a Palestinian unity government could still succeed, brushing aside President Mahmoud Abbas's comment that they had reached "point zero" and must start from scratch.

....Abbas plans to travel to Gaza on Monday or Tuesday to resume talks, which he froze a week ago before attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York, senior aide Saeb Erekat said.
Erekat said Abbas would tell Hamas: "If you want a unity government, there are international requirements that need to be met, and that's the only way to form a unity government."

... Abbas has accused Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders of reneging on an agreement reached earlier this month on a political program for a unity government that included recognition of interim peace deals with Israel.

The row centers on agreeing a political agenda for the unity coalition that is clear enough in recognition of Israel to satisfy the West but vague enough for Hamas to say it does not contradict their charter, which calls for Israel's destruction.

Palestinians hope formation of a unity government will prompt Western powers to ease an aid embargo Gaza and the occupied West Bank..... was imposed when Hamas came to power in March to pressure the Islamic militant group to meet three conditions: recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by interim peace deals.

...."Any coming (Palestinian unity) government that recognizes Israel and its right to existence will be a legitimate target for us," said Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees. "We will fight it by all means and we will deal with it as an extension of the Zionist occupation."

....Washington has threatened to shun Fatah members who join a government led by Hamas if that government does not meet the three conditions...... Washington had hoped Abbas would sack the Hamas-led government, not join it.

.... Hamas said it would not join any unity government that recognized Israel.

"Unfortunately, we are back to point zero," Abbas said on Saturday of the unity talks.....

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