Hamas raises possibility of talks with Israel

Hamas raised the possibility on Monday of future negotiations with Israel through a third party, an apparent softening before the Palestinian elections of the militant group's rejection of any talks with the Jewish state.

Hamas raises possibility of talks with Israel

"Negotiations are a means. If Israel has anything to offer on the issues of halting attacks, withdrawal, releasing prisoners ... then 1,000 means can be found," senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al Zahar told reporters.

As an example, he cited contacts the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah held with Israel, via German mediators, for the release of Lebanese held in Israeli jails.

"Negotiation is not a taboo," Mr Zahar said. "But the political crime is when we sit with the Israelis and then come out with a wide smile to tell the Palestinian people that there is progress, when in fact, there is not."

Israel refuses to negotiate with Hamas and says the group must disarm and abandon a charter calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Fatah not to dismantle camps: The ruling Fatah party will not be able to dismantle the militia of Hamas and Islamic Jihad despite a promise to do so by its leader Mahmud Abbas, Fatah election campaign chief Nabil Shaath said in an interview published on Monday.

"We can't honour Abbas' commitment to dismantle the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militias," Mr Shaath said in an interview he gave in Gaza City to Spain's El Pais newspaper, two days before the first Palestinian parliamentary election in a decade.

Mr Shaath, who is deputy prime minister in the Palestinian Authority led by Mr Abbas, said there were three reasons for this.

Firstly the new Palestinian Authority that would emerge from the election would need to 'rebuild the security forces, have more weapons and munitions at its disposal and plan better training for the police and army'.

"That will take time," he warned.

"Secondly, we need to develop the Palestinian economy and cut unemployment — which is currently at 65 per cent — so that people don't join Hamas and Islamic Jihad. When there are jobs, they'll be less inclined to join the resistance."

Thirdly, Mr Shaath accused the two radical movements of 'not wanting to join the political process'.

Hamas, which is taking part in Wednesday's election, was behind most attacks during the first four years of the intifada. Islamic Jihad, which is boycotting the vote, is blamed for all the suicide attacks of the last 12 months.—Reuters/AFP

Apology

A senior official in Fatah movement apologised for what he called the party's past mistakes on Monday as Fatah scrambled to fend off a strong challenge from Hamas in this week's election.

The public apology came on the final day of official campaigning before Wednesday's parliamentary vote.

Source: Dawn

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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