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Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Photo: AFP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: AFP
Egypt, Jordan want Hamas gov't toppled
Report: In secret meeting between intelligence heads of moderate Arab states and Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin, Jordan, Egypt and unnamed Gulf state ask Abbas to oppose Hamas premiership

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks with Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin in Jordan during a meeting of intelligence chiefs from moderate Arab states, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Saturday.

 

The attendants urged Abbas to reject a Hamas demand that it holds the premiership post in any future unity government with rivals Fatah, with Jordan and Egypt delegates arguing that the current Hamas government should be toppled.

 

Abbas demanded that Egypt mediates between Israel and the Palestinians to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli corporal kidnapped in by Palestinian gunmen in a cross-border attack near Gaza on June 25.

 

Abbas accused Israel of complicating negotiations by relying on several mediators, including Turkey, Norway, and Spain, the newspaper said.

 

He also accused Iran and Syria of complicating efforts to release Shalit in return for Israel freeing hundreds of Palestinians serving sentences in Israeli jails.

 

The Palestinian president also demanded that he presides over talks to release Shalit for fear that Hamas would emboldened if it were to claim credit for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

 

The newspaper the meeting took place in Aqaba and was attended by Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman, Jordanian intelligence chief Mohammad A-Dahabi, and security officials from two unnamed Gulf states.

 

Unity government 

The meeting focused on the crisis in the Palestinian Authority and the war on terror.

 

Jordanian officials said countries that sent delegates to the meeting represent the "peace and good" axis as opposed to Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah, whom they accused of sponsoring terror.

 

Abbas presented delegates with a copy of an agreement he reached with Prime Minister and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on the formation of a national unity government headed by Haniyeh.

 

Abbas said Haniyeh urged Fatah to drop demands that the Islamic group agrees to the formation of a joint committee to negotiate peace with Israel under an initiative by the Arab League.

 

Egyptian and Jordanian officials said the opposed Haniyeh's bid for the premiership, arguing that although he represents a moderate image of Hamas, he tends to bow to dictates of extremists like politburo Khaled Mashal and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar.

 

The two Arab countries suggested one of two technocrats, Munib al-Masri or Salam Fayyad, be appointed as prime minister.

 

Delegates from Arab states also demanded that Hamas bows to demands by the Quartet of peace brokers – the United Nations, European Union, Russia and the United States – that it recognizes Israel's right to exist as a precondition to forming a unity government with Fatah.

 

Jordan said it will advice Abbas on legal means to topple the Hamas government if it continues to refuse to recognize Israel.

 

Abbas also called for a boycott of Mashaal, slamming the exiled leader for torpedoing efforts to release Shalit.

 


First published: 30.09.06, 14:23
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