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New PA Gov't Doesn't Recognize Israel

The Pal. Auth. has a unity government - and it doesn't recognize Israel or renounce terrorism. Shabak head sees Hamas-Fatah explosion ahead.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/15/2007, 5:17 PM

The Palestinian Authority has a new government - one that doesn't recognize Israel nor renounce terrorism. Shabak chief terms Hamas-Fatah ties as "ticking time-bomb."

PA prime minister Ismail Haniye (Hamas) presented the list of new government ministers to PA chairman Abu Mazen (Fatah) this afternoon. The new unity government, which must be approved in the PA legislature on Saturday, is the 11th PA government since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1993.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev says that the new government does not fulfill the Quartet's three demands, and therefore Israel will not cooperate with it. The Quartet has demanded that the PA, led by Hamas, recognize Israel and the existing Israeli-PA agreements, and give up terrorism.

The controversial position of Interior Minister - that which controls the PA's security services - will be filled by independent candidate Hani Al-Kawasme. This was one of the major obstacles in the formation of the government.
Hamas officials said that the new government's platform "supports continued fighting [against Israel] until the right of return [of millions of Arabs who left Israel in 1948] is achieved."

Hamas officials also said that kidnapped Israeli soldier hostage Gilad Shalit will soon be freed, and that there has been no change in the Hamas demands for the release of 1,400 terrorists from Israeli jail in return.

Hamas and Fatah have been warring intermittently for months, especially in Gaza. General Security Service chief Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee this week that the relationship between Hamas and Fatah is "a ticking time bomb, despite the power-sharing arrangement there... The tension is still there and will continue to be there even after a government is formed.... Both sides see the period of calm as a chance for strengthening and getting organized in order to revive their movement's various institutions and militias, which creates an arms race between the parties."

Just yesterday, violent clashes between Hamas and Fatah took place.

MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) said that the new unity government "reflects unity in the Palestinian goal of continued terrorism and implementation of the Hamas platform of destroying Israel."