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Senior Hamas Leader Slams Agreement with Fatah

Senior Hamas official Mahmud al-Zahar says agreement with Fatah is a mistake and that no one inside Hamas was consulted.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/14/2012, 7:53 AM

Mahmoud al-Zahar
Mahmoud al-Zahar
Flash 90

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar has slammed the reconciliation deal between his terror group and Fatah, saying it was a “mistake," AFP reported.

The report quoted an interview al-Zahar gave to Egypt’s official MENA agency, in which said the decision to have PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas head the unity government “is a mistake”. He added, “No one inside the Hamas movement was consulted.”

The agreement was signed last week in Doha. It calls for Abbas to head an interim government, which will be made up of "independent technocrats." The new PA interim government is to be presented on February 18 in Cairo.

Al-Zahar, however, told MENA, the agreement “practically cannot be implemented,” adding, “If the consultations took place among the small circle around the political bureau (headed by Hamas’ politburo chief Khaled Mashaal abroad), then this is unacceptable.”

He added that the agreement “needs to be reviewed, so Hamas leaders at home and abroad will meet over the issue in the coming two days.”

Al-Zahar said that after a series of discussions with Hamas officials and MPs “we found that many feel there is a real crisis.” He added that the sweeping Hamas victory in 2006 the parliamentary elections meant there was no reason to make concessions to Fatah.

“The people chose Hamas and rejected Fatah’s program,” al-Zahar was quoted as having said. “How can we at the last minute come and say that the Fatah program proved to be a success and Hamas failed?”

“In fact,” he added, “the reality is that the Hamas program proved to be a success, with the Arab Spring and the Arab and Islamic opening in the region breaking the political embargo on Gaza.”

Al-Zahar's comments seem to confirm recent analyses that the unity agreement with Fatah is causing a split within Hamas. Recent reports indicated that a new camp within Hamas is interested in ending the terror group’s relationship with Iran.

This week it was reported that Gulf Arab nations were pressuring the group’s Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh to cancel his trip to Tehran, warning him that his trip could cost him financial aid from countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar.

Mashaal, meanwhile, has reportedly completely abandoned Hamas’ bureau in Syria and will be setting up shop in Qatar.