Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bureau chief Rafiq Husseini said Thursday that "Abbas decision to hold general and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority is still in force and will not change."
Husseini added that Abbas' decision to dissolve the special security force formed by the Hamas government and integrate it into the existing security service also stands.
"As far as we're concerned, the force will continue to be illegal until the Rais' (Abbas') decision is fulfilled," he stated. According to Husseini, the president's associates were astonished by the government force's scale.
Husseini also reported that the national Palestinian dialogue will be resumed next week, but that this time it will be carried out under a strict timeframe of two weeks.
"If the dialogue fails, the decision is to hold elections. Either we agree on a unity government capable of removing the blockade imposed on Gaza, or we'll go to elections," he stated.
Also Thursday, Hamas officials sought to explain statements made Wednesday by the group's political bureau's chief Khaled Mashaal, who said Israel's existence was a fact.
Ghazi Hamad, a spokesman for the Palestinian government, said that "Mashaal's statements do not grant Israel legitimacy…. Israel exists and is a fact, but this fact does not make it legal. Mashaal's words do not mean that Israel has become legal, or that it has a right to exist."
"Hamas' stance is clear and will not change," Hamad continued, "We will not acknowledge Israel or it's legitimacy."