Hamas will not agree to the continuation of Palestinian security cooperation with Israel once it teams up with the Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to form a unity government.
Senior Gaza official and deputy Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk said Saturday that Hamas had reached no understanding with Fatah regarding the issue of security cooperation with Israel, and that the Islamist movement would not allow it to continue, Israel Radio reported.
Abu Marzouk said the Palestinian unity government would be unveiled early this coming week, on Monday or Tuesday. He added that Hamas had withdrawn its objections to Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki remaining in his post.
On Friday, a PA official told AFP that the “only problem” preventing the establishment of the unity government was Hamas’s rejection of al-Malki and Abbas’s insistence that he stay on as foreign minister. With that obstacle out of the picture, Abu Marzouk said a unity government would be announced in the coming days.
Meanwhile Saturday, top Hamas official Muhammad Nazal was quoted by the organization’s official organ as saying that Hamas would not abandon the path of “resistance,” or violence against Israel — a path the Islamist group shares with the Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Nazal said Hamas would remain committed to resistance “in all its forms” until Palestine becomes “free.”
Israel suspended peace talks with Abbas over the unity pact, saying it would not negotiate with a government supported by Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction.
On Wednesday, Abbas told a group of 200 Israeli peace activists that the Palestinian Authority’s cooperation with Israel was “sacred” and that he would not stop engaging with Israel and Israelis — even after forming a unity government with Hamas.
During his talk in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority president said Fatah should not have to choose between reconciliation with Hamas and continued negotiations with Israel.
“In Islam one can marry 4 wives. We have married 2,” he joked, referring to Hamas and Gazan Palestinians as “our brothers” and to Israel as a neighbor he was committed to making peace with.
He added that Israel couldn’t claim it couldn’t negotiate with Hamas, as it had already negotiated a ceasefire with the organization during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
Hamas and the Western-backed PLO, which is dominated by Abbas’s secular Fatah party, signed a surprise reconciliation agreement on April 23 to end years of bitter and sometime bloody rivalry. Under the terms of the deal, the two sides would work together to form an “independent government” of technocrats that would pave the way for long-delayed elections. The agreement gave them five weeks to set up a unity government, which was to have been announced by May 28.
AFP contributed to this report.