Abbas: No Hamas or Fatah figures in new government

AMMAN, Jordan (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that Israel and the US had misinterpreted the unity deal as ushering in a government of Hamas and Fatah figures, as the new body would solely include non-partisan technocrats.

At a press conference in Amman following the president’s meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Abbas also credited the royal with influencing US President Barack Obama’s Thursday statement in support of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders.

Abbas said Obama’s statement that the basis of the Palestinian borders were the armistice lines prior to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 was made “thanks to the efforts of King Abdullah II of Jordan during his latest visit to the US.”

But the president also reacted to recent comments by the US premier focusing on Hamas’ position towards Israel, saying the May deal between the movement and its rival Fatah had been misunderstood by Israel and the US as paving the way for both movements to dominate a new government.

“The government will be built of nonpartisan figures, and will not include affiliates of any Palestinian faction,” Abbas said.

Response to US, Israel ‘spat’ over 1967 borders

The day before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived for a trip to the US, Obama said in a speech reflecting on protests across the Arab world, “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”

Netanyahu immediately condemned Obama’s stance as leaving Israel “indefensible,” leading to an awkward meeting between the premiers on Friday.

However Obama also said in his Thursday speech that the unity deal between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas posed “profound and legitimate questions” for Israel.

“How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?” he said, referring to international pressure on Hamas to formally state their recognition of Israel.

Israeli officials had slammed the unity agreement, with Netanyahu warning that Abbas must choose between “peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.”

But Abbas said Monday, “this is neither Hamas, nor Fatah government. It is my government and will follow my strategies,” he added.

Abbas and King Abdullah also discussed the agenda of the next meeting of the Arab follow up committee, the official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA said, as well as the new Palestinian government.

With government members yet to be announced following the unity deal, Abbas insisted that “reconciliation is at hand, and we are currently working on the technocrat government.”

( / 23.01.2011)

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