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Hamas: Unity for elections, not to emulate Fatah
Published Saturday 12/11/2011 (updated) 13/11/2011 19:19
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Zahhar says Hamas will not negotiate with Israel (MaanImages/Wissam Nassar)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas will not become a carbon copy of rivals Fatah after their reconciliation deal, but welcomes the prospect of Palestinian elections, senior party official Mahmoud Zahhar said Saturday.

Hamas will not negotiate with Israel, Zahhar said in an Eid al-Adha celebration in Gaza City.

The May deal between Hamas and Fatah sought to end years of animosity between the parties that split Palestinians into rival administrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel refuses to have dealings with any government that includes Hamas, and slammed President Mahmoud Abbas for reconciling with his political adversaries.

The international community has called for Hamas to renounce violence and explicitly recognize Israel's right to exist, formulations adopted by Fatah under late leader Yasser Arafat.

"Those who believe we are seeking reconciliation with Fatah to become a reproduction of Fatah are mistaken," Zahhar said Saturday.

"Our only choice is the path of Islam, and the liberation of Palestine is closer than any time in the past after the many victories we have been achieving."

But Hamas wants elections for the people to be able to choose their representatives, Zahhar said.

The unity deal envisaged the formation of an interim unity government of technocrats with a view to holding presidential and legislative elections within a year. It has yet to be implemented, with Abbas saying he will meet with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal before the end of November.

Zahhar noted the significance of this year's Eid festival, coming at a time when countries across the Arab world have "defeated their oppressors," and after Hamas secured the release of more than 1,000 prisoners in a swap deal with Israel.

"Several Arab and Islamic delegations visited Gaza from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and France" during the holiday, Zahhar added.

Speaking to London-based Al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday Zahhar said Hamas "does not negotiate with Israel directly nor indirectly, however, there were indirect negotiations over the prisoner swap deal for a specific purpose."

Hamas would only hold indirect negotiations with Israel over humanitarian issues such as a bird flu outbreak, Zahhar added.

"What can we negotiate over? Should we repeat Abu Mazen’s unsuccessful experience?" Zahhar asked, referring to the president.

He described reports of possible negotiations between Hamas and Israel as "insane voices and worthless trial balloons."
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1 ) Nour / Palestine
12/11/2011 17:22
Anything to rid us of that fool Erekat and his cheesy, unapologetic smile on Aljazeera last night. Each time I hear him say "We will give you the biggest Yerushalayim in history" I think to myself that guy needs to be tried - PRONTO.

2 ) Arnold / Canada
12/11/2011 21:25
Sure is one not good looking man. And that pimple on his nose . Wow.

3 ) nhs / ps
12/11/2011 21:50
@Nour: like

4 ) Colin Wright / USA
13/11/2011 01:30
As I understand it, Netanyahu's Likud explicitly bars recognizing an independent Palestine. So he can hardly object to the PA including Hamas on the grounds that Hamas fails to recognize Israel.

5 ) Mohammad / Malaysia
13/11/2011 11:53
These people has been fooling the world for there entire span. No body expects Hamas to recognize Israel. Simply because there is no such thing in International relations and politics that requires a party in a certain country to recognize or not to recognize another country...Usually countries recognize themselves. Do the Israeli parties recognize Palestine ? or do they have to ? . Zahar is, falsely, Making himself a hero and is trying to show Hamas withstanding a huge pressure form the world.

6 ) Star UK / UK
13/11/2011 12:36
@ 4 Colin -- too right. Netanyahu and his govt can hardly object to anything given their status as the greatest international law breaker and UN refusnik status. Fraught tho it may be, many welcome Hamas involvement in supporting a clean up of Pal politics. Some interesting reading coming out about Hamas moves towards a more legitimate political Islam model of engagement and political development -- interesting times!
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