Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is set to meet Hamas leaders today or tomorrow to resuscitate negotiations for a national unity government. Over the weekend, Abbas described talks as being at a “dead end”. But Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, was quick to counter Abbas’s opinion that negotiations with the current Hamas-led government would have to “start from scratch”.
And this morning a Hamas spokesman said current differences could be resolved within a fortnight. One of the main sticking points, and one of the reasons for crippling international sanctions, is Hamas’s refusal to recognise Israel. But any compromise on that issue will raise the wrath of militant groups like the Popular Resistance Committees. Its spokesman, Abu Abir, says any government recognising Israel will be seen as a legitimate target.
Hamas has sought vague wording on the issue so as not to contradict the Islamic group’s charter which calls for the destruction of Israel. In the meantime, the western aid embargo imposed partly over Hamas’s refusal to recognise Israel, is leading to increasing poverty among ordinary Palestinians.