Hamas rejection bodes poorly for unity talks
Ceremoniously announced last month, reconciliation between the two rival Palestinian leaderships — the secular Fatah and the Islamist Hamas — hit a serious snag Sunday, another sign that the effort is not going well.
In the latest blow, Hamas on Sunday rejected Fatah’s proposal that internationally respected economist Salam Fayyad remain prime minister.
“Hamas will not agree to grant Salam Fayyad the confidence to run the national unity government,” said Salah Bardawil, a Hamas official in the Gaza Strip.
The announcement boded poorly for a new round of unity talks set to begin this week.
Ironically, a breakdown in the reconciliation process could potentially bolster U.S. efforts to restart peace talks, since Israel has balked at engaging a Palestinian government that includes Hamas militants.
Fatah and Hamas have been at loggerheads since the Islamic militant group won parliamentary elections in 2006. A short-lived unity government disintegrated the next year, with Hamas overrunning the Gaza Strip. Since then, the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, has governed only in the West Bank.