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      Hamas Founders Amid Lover's Quarrel

      Hamas co-founders Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud al-Zahar don't agree on PA talks with Israel; "resistance the only option," al Zahar says.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 5/18/2011, 6:18 PM / Last Update: 5/18/2011, 8:52 PM

      Hamas co-founders Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud al-Zahar are at odds over whether the Palestinian Authority should talk with Israel, the militant, pro-Hamas Al-Quds newspaper reports.

      In an interview published Wednesday al-Zahar rejected Mashaal's statement that the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation was a "reprieve for negotiations with Israel."

      "That does not represent the official position of Hamas," al-Zahar said.

      Al Zahar added, contrary to statement's made by Mashaal, Hamas will not give Abu Mazen a chance to negotiate with Israel.

      "We do not agree to negotiate and do not encourage it," al-Zahar said. "On the contrary, I did not agree to this speech [by Mashaal -Ed] and was surprised by it. There is no change in Hamas' position when it comes to the principle of resistance, which is the only option."

      In this vein al-Zahar said Nakba Day protests "created a great danger to the Zionist entity," and maintained such demonstrations should be staged regularly and not once per year.

      Al Zahar said he does not believe a PA government that integrates Hamas will isolated, citing regional changes, particularly the revolution in Egypt. He said he expects the next PA elections will be a Hamas blowout leaving Fatah in the minority, but maintained the current approach is to form a national unity government irrespective of the results.

      The Quartet has said recognition of a PA government is based on PA recognition of Israel without prejudging what various grievances or claims are appropriate, abide by previous diplomatic agreements, and renouncing violence as a means of achieving goals. These principles were endorsed by UN resolution 1850.

      Hamas has rejected all three criteria. Al Zahar has said it will continue to do so and recently intimated any peace accord with Israel is a prelude to war.

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