Photo: AP
Haniyeh and Abbas. Going together
Photo: AP

Abbas: National unity government within days

Fatah, Hamas finalize fundamental issues in series of talks between Palestinian president, prime minister. Haniyeh expected to remain in office; Hamas will not recognize Israel, but may do so indirectly by adopting Saudi initiative. Both sides hope changes will lead to end of economic, diplomatic siege: Hamas official: We'll never recognize legitimacy of occupation

Eight and a half months after Hamas surprised the world by defeating Fatah in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, the two parties are preparing to establish a national unity government, which is aimed at helping the Palestinian Authority out of the siege imposed on in by the West.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who completed a series of talks with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, announced on Monday afternoon that the sides have reached a basic agreement. Abbas expressed his hope that in the coming days a new government will be presented in the PA.


Shortly after the announcement the Hamas government issued a statement saying it would never recognize Israel.


"Hamas will continue to have its political agenda ... We will never recognize the legitimacy of the occupation," said top official Sami Abu Zuhri.


Hamas officials also confirmed that the talks have reached agreements. A joint agreement has already been prepared, and is expected to be officially published later Monday.


According to Palestinian sources, who are involved in the political contacts in the PA, agreements were reached both on the personal level (portfolios) and on the level of the government's basic principles.


Hamas has presented Haniyeh as its candidate for prime minister of the unity government.


'Hamas' position hasn't changed' 

Spokesman of the organization, Moshir al-Masri, said to Ynet that the government platform is based on the Prisoners' Document, which has enjoys consensus among Palestinians. According to Hamas' Parliament spokesman, Salah Bardaweel, even the main issues, which are meant to ease international pressure, have advanced.


The apparent direction is adopting the Arab Peace Initiative (the Saudi plan adopted at the Beirut Summit) or any other initiative that hints at indirect recognition of Israel, even without officially announcing that Hamas recognizes Israel and honors prior agreements.


Al-Masri clarified that it isn't accurate to say that Hamas recognizes Israel. Another senior official in the movement clarified that Hamas' position on the historical right of the Palestinian people to all of Palestine hasn't changed.


In the last few days, Fatah officials have threatened that a lack of agreement on a national unity government is likely to result in dramatic measures taken by the president, including dissolving the Hamas government and establishing a technocratic government under it.


As of now, with signs of the establishment of the government – based on relatively pragmatic fundamentals – both sides hope that it will be possible for Abbas to approach the international community with a request to lift the political and economic blockade while preparing for a possible meeting between PA and Israeli leaders.


פרסום ראשון: 09.11.06, 15:08
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