Fatah, Hamas may address Israel recongition

AFP , Monday 28 Nov 2011

President of Palestine's National Authority(PNA) Mahmoud Abbas says he wishes that Hamas could agree to recognise Israel after last week reconciliation talks in Cairo with the Islamist movement's chief Khaled Meshaal

Fatah & Hamas
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (2nd L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (2nd R) talk with other top Hamas and Fatah officials during their meeting in Cairo November 24, 2011. (Photo:Reuters)

The refusal of Hamas to recognise Israel could be discussed in the next round of talks between the Islamist group and its rival Fatah, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Monday.

"I would wish that Hamas would agree to this," Fatah chief Abbas told reporters during a visit to Vienna. "Maybe this will be an issue to talk about in our next meeting."

Abbas said that the issue did not come up in what he called his "important" reconciliation talks last week in Cairo with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal aimed at cementing a stalled unity deal signed six months ago.

"I think these talks were an important step. Of course they did not address all the issues but both sides clarified their positions," Abbas said through a German-speaking interpreter after talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

He said Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip -- Fatah runs the West Bank -- was ready to accept a Palestinian state within 1967 borders and that resistance would be "peaceful".

Abbas also stressed that any interim unity government formed by Hamas and Fatah paving the way for parliamentary and presidential elections next May would be "independent" and not dominated by either side.

"The interim government will be made up of technocrats and independent members ... This will not be a government of either Fatah or of Hamas, but an independent one," Abbas said Monday.

Israel has expressed unease at the rapprochement, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman on Thursday saying the closer Abbas gets to Hamas, "the further he moves away from peace."

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said on Saturday Israel could cut water and power supplies to the Gaza Strip, saying a unity government of Hamas and Fatah "would transform the Palestinian Authority into a terrorist authority."

The United States and the European Union have said they will not work with a government that includes Hamas unless the Islamists recognise Israel, renounce violence and agree to abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

In Cairo Abbas and Meshaal approved a two-page document reiterating their commitment to the main elements of the original deal, saying they would establish a joint government after elections in May 2012.

Hailing a new era of partnership, they pledged to resolve the issue of political prisoners "within days" and said they would put together a temporary cabinet of independents, to be agreed upon next month.

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