Hamas stonewalls Doha Declaration

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Feb 2012

Khaled Meshaal backtracks on declaration putting Fateh leader Mahmoud Abbas at head of new government by adding tougher terms that increase Hamas influence

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, listens to Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, following their meeting in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, (Photo: AP).

Gaza's ruling political party Hamas has decided in a meeting this week to lay down terms amending a clause in the recent Doha Declaration reconciliation deal that sets President Mahmoud Abbas 'Abu Mazen' as the head of the upcoming Palestinian government.

Sources told Ahram's daily paper that the new terms, which Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal will disclose to Abbas, include that the Fateh leader takes a constitutional oath at the Hamas-dominated Palestinian government and that Hamas chooses his deputy.

In addition, Hamas demands that it appoint officials to the top three departments of the upcoming cabinet, including the ministries of interior, justice and finance.  This requirement, sources say, is expected to be rejected by Abbas, who has insisted that internationally accepted figures fill these positions.

The final stipulation is that Hamas choose 51 per cent of the cabinet ministers, a figure based on its majority in parliament.

After the Doha Declaration, the document stating that Abbas would lead the government, was signed by both parties, there has been internal disputes within Hamas. Some members said it was unconstitutional for Abbas, as the current president of the Palestinian Authority, to also be awarded the post of premiere.

Hamas decided to prevent further disputes by meeting in Cairo, finally deciding not to reject Abbas' premiership but to append tougher terms to it, which Fatah consequently refused.

Fatah's Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul said his party rejected subjecting Abu Mazen's premiership to the proposed legislation, saying the move reneges on what Hamas previously agreed upon.

Answering these criticisms, Al-Aloul added that the issue of Abbas leading the government was not a legal or constitutional one but instead a framework for ending the divisions within Palestine for the good of the Palestinian people.

Palestinian factions arrived in Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday to attend talks headed up by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation Committee. Abu Mazen also came to Cairo for talks with Meshaal in order to decide on the formation of the government.

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