Signs of crisis between Fatah and Hamas
Coalition talks between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday hit a snag and the latter postponed a speech to the nation.
Hamas leaders presented a list of conditions for the resignation of the Hamas-led cabinet, disclosed an Abbas aide, Nimer Hamad. Without the resignation, which was expected Thursday, the power-sharing deal cannot proceed. Among others, Hamas demands that Abbas approve the so-called Executive Force, a 5,600-strong militia set up by Hamas last year despite the president's objections.
Hamas also wants Abbas to approve the appointment of dozens of Hamas loyalists to senior civil service positions, Hamad told the AP.
Also, Hamas demands that Abbas commit to a candidate for the key post of interior minister. Hamas proposed two names for the crucial security job, but Abbas has said he wants to review more applicants. Additionally, there is dispute over how many of five independents to be proposed for the Cabinet can still be picked by Fatah. Hamas now says Fatah has run out of picks, while Fatah says it has one left.
According to Hamad, Abbas decided to postpone a speech to the nation, which he had planned to deliver Thursday. The president "has put off his speech because of the demands that suddenly arose by Hamas leaders," said Hamad. "He found it difficult to address people while there are difficulties on the road to implementing the agreement."
Abbas is expected to meet with Haniyeh in Gaza on Thursday, to try to work out the problems, Hamad said. A Hamas government spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, said he was hopeful the two leaders could resolve the issues.