Dispute over Abbas' mandate submerged under Gaza offensive
www.chinaview.cn 2009-01-10 18:55:10   Print

Special report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts         

    RAMALLAH, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) avoided opening a new political battle with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas regarding his mandate, as what they threatened during the past months.

    But some remarks coming from its leaders showed that Hamas begins to act as it is installing their own leader for Palestinians, at least in the Gaza Strip.

    Regarding the latest UN resolution on the Gaza conflict, which calls for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, Muhamad Nazal, one of Hamas leaders, said Friday no one can speak on behalf of Hamas.

    He said, "we don't care about UN resolution, and no one ask us about this resolution."

    Nazal declared this position even though Abbas, who is the Palestinian National Authority chairman, has declared his agreement to the resolution.

    Hamas TV (Al-Aqsa) has been following the end of Abbas' mandate day by day for the past two months, but on Friday night, when Abbas' four-year presidential mandate is supposed to end, it did not mention the issue.

    Officials affiliated to Hamas told Xinhua that Hamas wanted to declare it does not recognize Abbas as Palestinian president, but the Israeli attacks on Gaza prevented them from doing so at this moment.

    According to Hasan Khrishi, a Hamas leader in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the disagreement between Abbas' Fatah and Hamas about the mandate of Abbas is more a political disagreement than a law disagreement.

    He said "if there is no problems between Fatah and Hamas, this issue will not appear."

    But this issue will not be raised at this moment because of what is going on in the besieged Gaza Strip, which is under intensive Israeli airstrikes and ground incursion since Dec. 27, Khrishi said.

    Simmering tensions between radical Hamas and Abbas' secular Fatah party burst into all-out street fighting in June 2007, when the Islamists seized the control of the Gaza Strip and ousted security forces loyal to the moderate president, who now holds sway in the West Bank.

    Hamas leaders during the past months have repeatedly said they will not recognize the legitimacy of Abbas after his term ends on Jan. 9 according to the basic law (Palestinian constitution).

    The Palestinian basic law said that the mandate of PNA chairman lasts for four years. Abbas was elected to the post of PNA Chairman on Jan. 9 in 2005 after late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died.

    The Fatah movement, headed by Abbas, denied the claims of Hamas, saying that the election law approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 2005 also said clearly that the election of PNA chairman should be held at the same time as the PLC election.

    The PLC ends its term in January 2010.

    On Wednesday, Hamas leader Osama Hamdan, said Hamas will not recognize Abbas' legitimacy after Jan. 9. He said, "we won't care about any decisions made by Abbas or any choice that he makes after that date."

    Though Musa Abu Marzooq, a top Hamas leader based in Damascus, said on Friday Abbas does not have any presidential authority after Jan. 9, he admitted Hamas now has other priorities "which are more important than discussing internal disputes."

    Hamas is devoting its efforts and time "to challenge the ongoing Israeli military aggression on Gaza Strip that has been going on for 14 days," he added.

    Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is appointed by Abbas, said Tuesday "Abbas continues to be at the post until the coming general elections (for legislation and PNA chairman)."

    He said "the election law confirmed that the presidential and legislative election must be simultaneous," adding that "at this moment our people are facing new Nakba (disaster) in Gaza, it is not suitable to speak about this issue right now."

    As Fatah and Hamas are trying to use the Palestinian law to support their views, other Palestinian factions confirm that Abbas' mandate is one of many political battles between Fatah and Hamas which aims to control the Palestinian people.

    Khaleda Jarar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), told Xinhua that "this issue has nothing to do with law, but a political struggle between the two parties."

    Basam al-Salhi, head of the People's Party, said "should this issue be raised today, it will further harm the efforts towards Palestinian unity."

    "Now our people are suffering from both Israeli occupation and our disagreements, and we are looking for unity not for new disagreement."

Editor: Zhang Mingyu
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