Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat-Hamas has given conflicting signs regarding the proposed national unity government and its program on which depends how the Quartet and the international donors will deal with it. A difference also appeared between its officials’ statements and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas announced yesterday at a press conference with Polish President Lech Kaczynski that he would ask incumbent Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to form the next national unity government that will be created “soon.” The Palestinian president said the government’s program would respect all the previous agreements signed with Israel.
Hamas issued a statement saying that its agreement to form a national unity government with the Fatah movement should not be seen as a softening of its stand toward Israel. Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said “HAMAS does not and will not recognize the occupation and will not accept any government program that includes recognition of the occupation. There is not in the unity government’s political program any indication of the question of recognizing the occupation.”
But Ahmad Yusuf, Ismail Haniyeh’s political adviser, stressed to “Asharq al-Awsat” that the national unity government would recognize all the agreements that Israel signed with the Palestinian Authority, but hastened to add: “On condition that this does not conflict with the Palestinian national rights.” Yet he said that the political program on which the Fatah and Hamas movements have agreed “does not stipulate recognition of Israel and everything that concerns the negotiations with Israel will be under President Abbas’s supervision.” He pointed out that everyone in the Palestinian arena is not worried by the negotiations with Israel from the premise that if an agreement was reached with it, then that agreement would be presented to the PLO and PA institutions, especially the National and Legislative Councils.”
He went on to say on the other hand that the Palestinian resistance would stop its operations if Israel stopped the repressive actions.
Asharq al-Awsat yesterday cited informed Syrian sources that Syria informed the Palestinian side that it would pressure Hamas to recognize Israel in view of the fact that the time is now right under the national unity government and in order to lift the Palestinians’ international isolation.
Meanwhile, Israeli sources reported that the decision to release the Palestinian ministers and deputies that Israel kidnapped following the capture of soldier Gil’ad Shalit was the first stage of a comprehensive and manifold deal that would lead to the release of Shalit and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in the occupation’s jails in addition to the formation of a national unity government and total calm between the Palestinian resistance movements and Israel.