PA Insists: Hamas Will Not Be Part of 'Unity' Government
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stated in a PA TV interview Thursday night that Hamas, its unity pact partner, has not been asked to recognize Israel and will not be part of a transitional government that is to be built soon.
Abbas also repeated his intention to erect an interim government which will, allegedly, recognize Israel and condemn violence and terror.
Abbas's announcement reiterates the growing cognitive and political dissonance between the two organizations. Hamas continues to be adamant over its full control of a "unity" government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government.
Hamas representatives have already claimed that the PA's police forces will be integrated into Hamas's police in Gaza, less than a week after co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar angrily denied allowing Hamas to be integrated into the PA side of law enforcement.
"Nobody will touch the security sections in Gaza. No one will be able to touch one person from the military group. Nobody asked for that," Zahar declared to Reuters. He also claimed that Abbas is "lying" about being in charge of a unity government and charged him with vying for the continuation of US aid.
Under the terms of the Hamas-Fatah unity deal, signed on April 23, the two sides would work together to form an "independent government" of technocrats, to be headed by Abbas, that would pave the way for long-delayed elections.
The deal aims to end a longtime rivalry which started back in 2007, when Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup and started cracking down on Fatah officials living in the territory.
The current deal has sown utter confusion, as different officials claim different ideals for a unity government which both sides insist does not really exist. Hamas has said repeatedly that it will give minimal control to the PA in its version of the government; Abbas has now denied that an interim government will include Hamas at all.
Meanwhile, top-ranking PA official Saeb Erekat continued to justify the "legitimacy" of the pact to the media earlier Thursday, claiming Hamas is not a terror organization.
"Hamas is a political Palestinian movement, which is not a terrorist movement," Erekat said, on A-Shams Radio. "We will resolve the dispute with it at the ballot box instead of using arms."