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Hamas calls for government to prepare for elections

Chairman of the political bureau of the Hamas Palestinian Islamist movement, Ismail Haniyeh speaks during the funeral of Palestinian teenagers Louay Kahil and Amir Al-Namara, who were killed in an Israeli air strike at a mosque during their funeral in Gaza City on 15 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Chairman of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, Ismail Haniyeh, in Gaza City on 15 July 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Hamas Political Bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh yesterday called for the formation of a national unity government to tackle the threats facing the Palestinian issue and prepare for comprehensive elections.

Speaking to journalists, he said: "Today, we need a political government – a national unity government – in order to face the threats and challenges facing the Palestinian issue, including the Israeli siege and the sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip."

He stressed that all the Palestinian factions should take part in such a government, "which must be based on a consensual national programme," noting that would afford an "internal safety network".

The purpose of this government, Haniyeh said, "is to prepare for comprehensive elections, including presidential, parliamentarian and National Council elections," noting that Hamas would not accept holding elections without the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem "based on national partnership".

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Along with these elections, he stressed, the PA "must lift the sanctions it has imposed on the Gaza Strip."

He also said it is necessary that the PLO convene along with the secretary generals of the Palestinian factions in order to agree on a political programme, noting that there is a previous agreement on this issue – the Prisoners' Document.

The top Hamas leader said that his movement does not seek to have a replacement for the PLO, but insisted: "Hamas wants to see a strong PLO which includes all the Palestinian factions."

Regarding the 24-day visit to Cairo, he said that the Hamas delegation discussed the internal division, strategic threats on the Palestinian issue and mutual relations with Egypt.

He said that there is ongoing Egyptian and Qatari effort to lift the 12-year-old Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, as well as to guarantee that Gaza does not come under renewed Israeli aggression.

However, he stressed that "the Palestinian resistance is able to defend Gaza and the Palestinians if they come under any Israeli aggression."

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