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Photo: Reuters
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal
Photo: Reuters
'Contacts underway to return Mashaal'
Palestinian sources tell Ynet that 'serious contacts' are underway to return Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to Palestinian territories
Palestinian sources have told Ynet that 'serious contacts' are taking place between the Hamas leadership, top PA officials, and European representatives, as part of an attempt to bring Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to the Palestinian territories.

 

Hamas sees the move as an important part of its preparations to take power, and Palestinian sources said the move would moderate the organization.

 

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has repeated his request for Hamas to form the next PA government.

 

"Until now, I haven't asked anyone to form the government," Abbas told journalists in Ramallah. "We are continuing contacts with all the factions, and of course we will ask the party who won the majority to form the government," he added.

 

Abbas, Hamas to 'meet soon'

 

Ismael Haniya, leader of the Hamas party list, told Reuters that he called President Abbas and agreed to meet soon with him, when Abbas arrives in Gaza in two days.

 

Meanwhile, a gun battle has broken out between Fatah and Hamas members in Khan Younis, Gaza, with at least two people reportedly injured.

 

Mashaal, who is based in Damascus, spoke with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and thanked him for organization the elections. The Hamas leader
called on Abbas to act for Palestinian unity in the context of a national government.

 

Palestinian sources have said that as soon as the results are confirmed, Hamas, the EU, and Egypt will examine possibilities for returning Mashaal to the Palestinian territories. Those who support the move say Mashaal's return would significantly moderate Hamas, and disconnect it from Syrian and Iranian pressures, leading to much greater cooperation between Hamas and other elements in the PA.

 

The sources say that Mashaal would work for a long ceasefire (hudna), which would last for approximately 10 – 15 years, and which will guarantee real calm in the area.

 

The sources also claim that if Mashaal would return, other groups such as the Islamic Jihad, who are escalating the region with Syrian and Iranian pressure, will weaken.

 

Various elements in the Authority are reported to be hoping that Mashaal's return, should it take place, would promise a better management of Hamas as a ruling party.

 

Israel attempted to assassinate Mashaal in Jordan in 1997.

 


First published: 01.27.06, 14:34
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