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Abbas says has to make decision on Hamas government
Cat : Palestine
Date : 2006-10-19 16:20:54                      Reader : 285
Palestinians , then to push the rest to Jordan STATE . The model is Iraq and Lebanon . So President Abbas should think twice before firing Hamas government .It is better to end its term by law, then new election according to law as Unity is priority .


REUTERS 19/10/2006

Abbas says has to make decision on Hamas government


By Wafa Amr
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday he had to make a decision soon on the future of the Hamas government and that he might seek approval for any move in a referendum.

Abbas has hinted he would sack the government and said talks on forming a unity coalition with the Islamist movement were dead over its refusal to soften its stance toward Israel.

The power struggle has dashed Palestinian hopes that a unity cabinet would lead to a lifting of Western sanctions and sparked fighting this month between gunmen from Hamas and Abbas's Fatah in which 18 people were killed, sparking fears of civil war.

"In the near future we need to reach options that will allow us to get out of this crisis as soon as possible ... It is impossible to remain in this situation," Abbas told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Abbas, a moderate, did not explicitly say what his options were but his aides have said he might call fresh elections, appoint an emergency government or hold a referendum to let the Palestinian people decide what to do.

Asked if he would call a referendum, Abbas said: "If there is no constitutional text on an issue I seek, I will go to the people and hold a referendum on that issue."

While the Palestinian basic law, which serves as a constitution, allows the president to sack the government, it does not mention other alternatives such as calling early polls.

Osama Hamdan, Hamas's top official in Lebanon, said Abbas was doing the bidding of Israel and its closest ally, the United States.

"He only abides by what the Israelis and the Americans dictate him to do," Hamdan said on Al Jazeera television.

Hamas has accused the Fatah faction of trying to topple the government and warned of more unrest if Abbas carries out the threats.

The group defeated Fatah in parliamentary elections in January, prompting the West to cut off crucial official aid over Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

This has deepened an economic crisis in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

"A government that is incapable of lifting the siege is worthless," said Abbas, referring to the Western embargo and Israeli restrictions on freedom of movement and goods.

"If I cannot solve the people's problems, I am worthless."


Hamas has said it believed a unity government was still possible. But it has ruled out ever recognizing Israel.

Abbas said he would support the appointment of a government of technocrats, without saying that was what he wanted.

"(Hamas) say a government of professionals is an American option. What is this? They say ... this is a Zionist option, that they must stop this -- these statements do not frighten us," he said.

Abbas said Hamas had to be "brave enough" to come up with solutions to end the stalemate.

Fatah says Abbas has the right to call early elections or hold a referendum. Hamas disputes this.

Abbas also said efforts to arrange a summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were being hindered by the issue of Palestinian prisoners.

Olmert had been expected to free a large number of prisoners held in Israeli jails as a gesture to Abbas, but that was put on hold when militants captured a soldier, Gilad Shalit, in a cross-border raid from Gaza in June.

"Everything has stopped because Israel is linking the release of prisoners to the release of Shalit," Abbas said.

On Monday, Olmert repeated his readiness for talks with Abbas but said the release of Shalit was paramount.

(Additional reporting by Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah, Jonathan Saul in Jerusalem and Diala Saadeh in Dubai)

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