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Hamas sets three conditions for joining new government

Hamas officials have said that the movement has set three conditions for joining the new national unity government. These conditions include: changing the current Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, refraining from adopting a political programme that recognises Israel, and that the government work on implementing the reconciliation agreement, including the recognition of the employees of Ismail Haniyeh’s former government, London’s Al-Hayat newspaper reported.

Hamas’s head of media, Dr Salah Al-Bardawil, said that the government’s political programme was the main reason for the disagreement between Hamas and Fatah, stating that his movement will not participate in a government that declares a political programme that contradicts its positions.

“Nothing has changed that would make Hamas accept a programme that is based on the Middle East Quartet’s condition of recognising Israel and rejecting violence,” Al-Bardawil added. He also noted that the movement will join the government in the event that it re-visits the National Reconciliation Document written by Palestinian prisoners in 2006, which acted as a basis for reaching the Makkah Agreement in 2007 and the formation of the national unity government under Haniyeh.

Another Hamas official said that the solution to the disagreement over the government’s political programme is to form a government without a political programme or a government that adopts the National Reconciliation Document.

In a meeting held on Monday night in Ramallah, the Palestinian leadership formed a committee to communicate with the various factions in order to form a national unity government. Sources in the committee have said that they began making contact with all of the factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Members of the Palestinian leadership said that they look forward to Hamas’s agreement to participate in the next government and allowing for the reunification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Fatah Central Committee Member Mohammed Ashtiya said the national unity government is a national and political necessity, adding: “We are suffering from political problems and therefore we must form a political government capable of addressing these problems. Hamas’s participation in the government and the Islamic Jihad’s blessing is important in order for the government to re-unify the West Bank, Gaza and the state institutions.”

“The successive Palestinian governments have always adopted political programmes for Mahmoud Abbas; we are not asking Hamas or Fatah or adopt this programme or recognise Israel. As of now, Fatah has not recognised Israel.”

In the event that the efforts to form a national unity government are not successful, President Abbas will most likely seek to form a unity government consisting of PLO factions.

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