Senior official says Islamist group will not agree to continue West Bank security coordination
Hamas said it will not agree to continue the security coordination with Israel in the West Bank once a final Palestinian unity government is formed with Fatah, Israel Radio reported Saturday.
Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk said that the militant group had not come to an agreement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party regarding the security coordination. He added that Hamas would not agree to continue with it.
The report also said that the Palestinian unity government would be unveiled either Monday or Tuesday and that Hamas had withdrawn its objections to Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki keeping the same post.
Earlier this week, a PA official said that the formation of a Palestinian unity government had been stalled by the nomination of al-Malki.
“The government is ready, but there is only one problem, and that is that Fatah and Hamas reject Riyad al-Malki as foreign minister, something Abbas is insisting on,” the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Malki is a veteran diplomat who has served as foreign minister since 2007.
Also on Saturday, senior Hamas official Muhammad Nazal stated that the Islamist group would not renounce violence against Israel until Palestine becomes “free.”
The Hamas officials’ statements stood in sharp contrast to what Abbas said earlier this week. In a meeting with hundreds of representatives of Israeli peace NGOs in the West Bank City of Ramallah on Wednesday, Abbas discussed the coming elections and how the transfer of power would be carried out.
He noted that he had no intention of dissolving the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in light of the negotiations collapse.
“The security coordination is sacred, and we will continue to uphold it no matter what happens,” he said.
The Palestine Liberation Organization, which is dominated by Fatah, signed a surprise reconciliation deal with Hamas on April 23, giving the two sides five weeks to draw up an “independent government” of technocrats headed by Abbas.
The April reconciliation deal incensed Israel, putting the final nail in the coffin of US-brokered peace talks between the Jewish state and Abbas’s West Bank-based leadership.
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