Zahhar: Abbas should implement or scrap unity deal

Maan News Agency | Sept 2, 2011

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud Zahhar said Thursday that President Mahmoud Abbas must take decisive steps to implement or scrap the reconciliation deal agreed between his party and the president’s Fatah movement.

Slamming the status quo, where May’s agreement lingers without its provisions coming into force, Zahhar told the official Egyptian MENA news agency “Abbas must say: ‘I will implement what was agreed upon in relation to the reconciliation or I don’t want to implement it.'”

The Gaza-based Hamas official said reconciliation was being held up by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s excuses over US threats to withdraw finances, and Israel’s warnings it will void the Oslo Accords which established limited Palestinian self-rule.

He elaborated the party’s objections to current Ramallah-based Prime Minister Salam Fayyad leading the unity government envisioned in the deal. Fayyad “runs an illegitimate and unelected cabinet, he cooperated with Israel on security matters and Palestinian detainees are still in prison,” Zahhar told MENA.

The candidate to lead a new cabinet uniting the administrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which split when tensions between Fatah and Hamas exploded in 2007, has been a central point of contention since the deal was signed.

Other provisions, such as the release of political prisoners locked up in the four years of hostility between the factions, and the establishment of national elections, have also stalled.

Zahhar told MENA that Fatah’s insistence on Fayyad’s premiership “violates what was agreed between the parties.”

He slammed the prime minister for the current financial crisis of the PA, saying “Fayyad handed us debts reaching $1.7 billion and now he talks about $4 billion … he is no good for prime minister.”

Fatah and Hamas officials said in August that work towards implementing the deal would re-start after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which concluded Thursday.

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