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Palestinian reconciliation unlikely in 2012: Hamas official

Palestinian Territory, Occupied,Politics, Sat, 31 Mar 2012 IANS

Gaza, March 31 (IANS) A Hamas official Saturday ruled out the possibility that the Palestinian reconciliation will take place this year, blaming mainly Israel and the US for blocking it.


Salah Al-Bardawil, a member of the Islamic movement's politburo, said that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), led by Fatah party, is being "financially and politically blacklisted by Israel and America to prevent the reconciliation," reported Xinhua.


Some observers and analysts also saw differences inside Hamas itself, especially referring to the clear opposition from its Gaza-based leaders against the agreement that Qatar brokered between Hamas' politburo chief Khaled Mashaal and PNA President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.


Rejecting reports about the differences inside Hamas, Al-Bardawil told Xinhua that Fatah "refuses to admit the reality of external pressure it faces and blames Hamas for the failure of the reconciliation instead."


The Qatari-brokered pact, known as the Doha declaration, is the latest in a series of deals to reconcile Hamas and Fatah. The deal, reached in February, authorizes Abbas to form an interim government that will rule the West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip until elections.


Hamas and Fatah agreed on a joint vision about having a Palestinian state on the territories that Israel occupied in 1967 and adopting nonviolent resistance against Israel. However, their differences emerged on forming an interim government and holding elections.


Fatah accuses Hamas of blocking preparations for the elections in Gaza by preventing the Central Elections Commission (CEC) from updating voter records.


Al-Bardawil said elections could happen only when the Palestinians got assurances that Israel would let East Jerusalem residents to vote and Hamas candidates in the West Bank would not be chased down by the Israeli army.


"Abbas told us that he requested an Israeli approval, but he did not get an answer so far," Al-Bardawil said, adding that he does not expect the elections to be held this year.


For a better Palestinian reconciliation, the Arab states should form "a safety net" to secure financial aid for the PNA if the Western donors suspend their contributions for a government involving Hamas, said Al-Bardawil.


Al-Bardawil also said that the political siege on his movement had led to the ongoing crisis in Gaza, which resulted in frequent lacks of fuel, electricity and public services.


"The siege aims at toppling Hamas, but Hamas is going in the right direction despite all these conspiracies," the Hamas official said, adding that European countries "will eventually have to deal with a strong Hamas which has rooted in the Palestinian people with a big effect in the Arab and Islamic states".


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