Hamas says Abbas-Olmert meetings widen Palestinian rift
Islamic Hamas movement on Tuesday rejected talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel, accusing Fatah chief of widening the internal rift, reproted Xinhua.
"Abbas' acceptance to meet Israeli Prime Minister (Ehud) Olmert and his refusal to meet Hamas leaders reflect Abbas' position and prove that he stands behind the crisis," Salah al-Bardaweel, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a statement.
Abbas refused to meet leaders of Hamas ahead of an Egyptian-hosted national Palestinian dialogue. He had earlier announced that he will hold most probably a last meeting with the outgoing Israeli prime minister to study the next steps if both sides fail to reach an agreement on the permanent status issues by the end of this year.
"Abbas' rejection to hold bilateral talks with Hamas means that he is not serious and not interested in the national dialogue," al-Bardaweel said, adding, "Abbas only wants to get more time for gambling with the Zionist occupation."
Hamas and Abbas' Fatah have been engaged in a power struggle since Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006. A year later, Hamas fought pro-Abbas forces and seized full control of the Gaza Strip.
Abbas consolidated his rule in the West Bank while the U.S. mediated to resume peace talks between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel to strengthen Abbas.
Al-Bardaweel blames the peace negotiations for widening the internal split.
"Abbas' inability to resist the Zionist and the American orders and keeping on the road of the useless negotiations reveal the direct reason for the crisis," he said.
"Hamas movement has been always rejecting these meetings as well as the absurd talks President Abbas was holding with the Israeli occupation, which led to nothing," said al-Bardaweel.
Abbas told Palestinian columnists at his office on Sunday that he is not optimistic that a final deal with Israel will be reached this year, and he hopes the new U.S. administration would focus on pushing forward the peace talks.
Meanwhile, Cairo has sent a draft plan to 13 Palestinian factions, including rival Fatah and Hamas, to study its articles, before all of them head for a comprehensive dialogue in the Egyptian capital on Nov. 9.
Hamas said the Egyptian plan includes many positive points, but it will amend some points before sending it back to Egypt.
The plan calls for forming a unity government that prepares for early presidential and legislative elections, runs the daily life of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and reform the Palestinian security apparatuses.
According to the plan, the peace talks with Israel would be left for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which is dominated by Abbas' Fatah.