Dispute over accords with Israel throws PA cabinet talks into crisis
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told Hamas its response to his call to accept the previous peace accords with Israel is not enough, sources said on Saturday. Abbas on Friday night gave Hamas two more weeks to clarify its position.
Palestinian officials told Reuters Hamas prime minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh handed Abbas on Friday the movement's written response to a formal accreditation letter asking it to form a government that abides by interim peace deals with Israel. "Haniyeh's one-page response letter included vague wording on their position on the agreements signed with Israel," a senior Palestinian official told Reuters.
Another official said Haniyeh's reply repeated Hamas' position that it would relate to such accords "in a way that would not harm" the rights of the Palestinians. "The letter also hinted at the government's intention to reconsider those agreements that were signed with Israel," the official told Reuters.
"So President Abbas told Haniyeh their position was insufficient. He agreed to continue meeting Hamas until they change the political platform of the government they're trying to form. "(Abbas) said they have two more weeks to do that."
According to a report in Asharq al Awsat daily, the talks to form the new cabinet were actually in crisis following Friday meeting. Following the meeting, Haniyeh told Abbas he would consult with Hamas leadership regarding his demand to accept the accords with Israel.