Abbas to allow Hamas cabinet on condition that it renounce violence, Egypt urges Hamas to recognize Israel
Sources revealed on Wednesday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will reportedly allow Hamas to form a new cabinet on the condition that the Movement renounce violence.
According to the AP, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who together with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met with the Palestinian president in Cairo, said that Abbas had come to this decision.
Suleiman added that Egypt plans to urge Hamas to recognize Israel, honor peace agreements with it, and disarm. "Nobody will talk to them before they stop violence, recognize Israel and accept (peace) agreements," he said, according to AFP. "I hope that eventually they will open negotiations with Israel," Suleiman said.
He cautioned, however, that efforts to transform Hamas' political positions may be fruitless, or at best, take a considerable amount of time.
"These are radical people. But we have to try to convince them to change their position. It's still difficult to make them change 180 degrees ... This might take six months or more. We will try," he added.
Hamas has come under widespread pressure following its landslide victory in recent Palestinian elections.
Many have called on the movement, whose official charter calls for the elimination of Israel, to moderate its stand as a condition to receive continued funding from the international community.
Without such funding, much of which comes from the United States and the EU, the Palestinian economy would suffer substantially.
The controversy presents Hamas with a difficult dilemma.
Many in the Arab world have expressed hope that their leaders replace the west in providing funds to the Palestinian people, thereby making Palestinian leadership less indebted to political pressuring from the west.
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday made her first official visit to Egypt and met for nearly two hours, with Mubarak.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)