Abbas asks Hamas to form new cabinet as Israel urges world not to ”legitimize” Hamas
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas asked Hamas on Friday to form a new government. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said he had asked Abbas, who is Fatah's chief, to meet Sunday to discuss forming a new government.
Fatah leaders decided late Thursday not to enter a joint government with Hamas.
On her part, Acting Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appealed to the international community not to legitimize a Palestinian cabinet led by Hamas, saying elections are not a "whitewash" for "terrorist" organizations. Speaking to reporters, Livni stated Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last summer opened a window of opportunity in peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians. With the election of Hamas, she added, "the Palestinians slammed it shut."
Meeting with reporters, Livni said she spoke to several foreign ministers and told them of the need to send "a very clear, unequivocal message ... that elections are not a whitewash for terror."
"In these talks, I also made clear what was decided in the consultation with the acting prime minister, that Hamas cannot be a partner of Israel and the fact that it will lead the Palestinian Authority, if indeed this is what will happen, this means the Palestinian Authority also cannot be a partner, in the eyes of Israel and the whole world," she said, according to the AP.
On Friday, three people were wounded after an argument between some 20 Hamas and Fatah followers degenerated into gunfire and rock-throwing. One man was treated for moderate gunshot wounds and two for minor injuries caused by rocks, according to witnesses and hospital officials.
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