Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday he would not demand that Hamas recognize Israel as a precondition for the establishment of a unity government in the Authority.
“However, I am demanding that the government adhere to the agreements of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the decisions reached by the United Nations,” he said.
The talks on the establishment of a Palestinian unity government are expected to resume Tuesday on the heels of Abbas’ meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus.
“Early elections (in the Palestinian Authority) are a serious possibility should the negotiations on the establishment of a unity government fail,” Fatah leader Abbas told London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat.
As to the chances of a civil war erupting in the PA Abbas said, “This marks a red line for us, and we will not allow it to be crossed. This is why I have held the talks (on unity).”
'We'll uphold Palestinian principles'
Following the Abbas-Mashaal meeting Hamas and Fatah officials agreed that the current round of talks would not exceed two weeks and that if no agreement is reached during this period Abbas would be forced to consider declaring early elections.
A senior Hamas official said the group would not agree to any preconditions for dialogue, adding that the group would ‘uphold Palestinian principles even for the international community’s commitment to lift its economical siege.’
Fatah officials claimed the dispute is lingering due Hamas’ refusal to declare that a unity government would be committed to past agreements signed by the PLO and the Authority.
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report