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Hamas Complains Abbas Obstructing Unity Government

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar accused PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas of delaying unity in favor of his statehood bid at the UN in September
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 7/8/2011, 4:15 PM / Last Update: 7/8/2011, 5:06 PM

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar said Thursday that Mahmoud Abbas is obstructing the creation of a unity government to protect his statehood bid at the United Nations.

“President Abbas is insisting on names for the premiership that are rejected by Hamas,” Al-Zahar said during a press conference held at the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza. “[he] is trying to delay issues that are related to reconciliation in order to reach the September bid.”

Zahar also reiterated Hamas' public support for a PA unity government during the interview, but Hamas is on record saying it wants to step back from governance preferring instead to focus on 'resistance.'

The United States and Israel are putting pressure on Abbas over the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal, Zahar added.

Recent resolutions in the US House of Representatives and Senate have urged US President Barack Obama to consider suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority in light of the unity deal.

Zahar's criticism of Abbas underscores a major Israeli concern – that Abbas is trying to hoodwink the international community into believing the PA will agree to co-exist with Israel knowing full well Hamas is waiting in the wings.

Hamas is on record saying it will never agree to co-exist with Israel and that any peace accord would only serve as a prelude to war.

Some observers note the corruption probe into several senior PA officials puts Abbas in a weak position that could be exploited by Hamas to install its own people in key positions if ministers beholden to Abbas are ousted amidst scandal.