Israel peace treaty splits Palestinians

Israel peace treaty splits Palestinians

RAMALLAH - Agence France-Presse
The next Palestinian government will respect agreements signed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) – a reference to peace accords with Israel – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Feb. 18, prompting anger from rival movement Hamas, which does not recognize Tel Aviv. 

“The next government will remain committed to the obligations and agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization,” Abbas said, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

In 1993 Abbas signed the Oslo Accords with Israel on behalf of the PLO, paving the way for the creation of an autonomous Palestinian Authority, which he now heads. 

But his comments drew an immediate, angry reaction from Hamas, whose spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said they “violate” the agreements between Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

Mashaal signed an agreement with the Palestinian president earlier this month in Doha placing Abbas at the head of an interim government charged with organizing elections later this year. “The remarks made by Abbas are rejected and violate the agreements because the next government is a national unity government. It is everyone’s government, not one of a particular political group,” Abu Zuhri said.

“The next government is a transitional government with clear duties... It has no political program,” he said, adding that the next government should only organize upcoming legislative and presidential elections. The Doha deal has been hailed as a step forward in the stalled implementation of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo last April.

Abbas the sole candidate

But it has come under fire from some Hamas members in Gaza and some independent lawmakers opposed to seeing Abbas become prime minister. Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar said Mashaal did not consult with others in the movement before signing the deal. Giving Abbas the post of interim prime minister was “wrong” and “strategically unacceptable,” Zahar was quoted as telling the Egyptian news agency MENA on Feb. 11.
Gazan Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh also said Feb. 11 that Hamas “will never recognize Israel” in a speech in Tehran that is also likely to complicate Palestinian efforts to form a unity government. Furthermore, MPs of the Hamas majority in the Palestinian Parliament called Feb. 9 for the scrapping of the accord with Fatah on constitutional grounds.

“After examining the question of Mahmoud Abbas taking on the premiership as well as the presidency” and consultation with judicial experts, such a scenario was found to be contrary to the Basic Law, 31 MPs said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Council of Abbas’ Fatah faction Feb. 18 issued a statement declaring the incumbent president its sole candidate for the next presidential elections. “The Fatah Revolutionary Council unanimously decided that president Mahmoud Abbas will be Fatah’s candidate for the next presidential election,” said the statement published by WAFA.

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.

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