Cabinet 'will not recognise Israel'
Gaza, February 11 - A new Palestinian unity government to be formed after a deal in Makkah between rival Fatah and Hamas factions will not recognise Israel, a political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Esmail Haniya said yesterday.
Ahmad Yousuf said the unity government, which he expected Haniya to unveil within 10 days, would "respect" previous Palestinian peace accords with Israel but would not be committed to them, nor to recognising the Jewish state.
Recognition of Israel is one of three conditions set by the "quartet" of international Middle East negotiators for lifting sanctions on the Hamas-led government. The quartet also demands Hamas renounce violence and accept existing peace deals.
"The issue of recognition was not addressed at all [in Makkah]," Yousuf said.
"In the platform of the new government there will be no sign of recognition [of Israel], regardless of the pressures the United States and the quartet would exert."
The quartet - the United States, Russia, European Union and the United Nations - repeated its conditions on Friday for a resumption of aid, but withheld judgment on whether the new government met those conditions.
Aid boycott could lead to more violence
Yousuf said a continuation of the aid boycott imposed after Hamas trounced Fatah in elections last year could lead to more violence in Palestinian Territories.
More than 90 people were killed in factional warfare in Gaza since President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah threatened to call fresh elections after earlier unsuccessful unity talks with Hamas.
Yousuf said the quartet was due to meet again on February 21, by which time Haniya planned to have announced his new government "so it can be an introduction to end the siege of the Palestinian people". He said Saudi Arabia, which hosted the Makkah talks, had promised to work for an end to the boycott and he hoped that would persuade the quartet to lift the embargo. Reuters
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