Hamas Leaders Questioning Unity Deal with Fatah

Washington, Feb. 10 – Just after Fatah and Iran-backed Hamas reached a new unity agreement this week, Hamas officials are questioning basic tenets of the Qatari-brokered deal.

Members of Hamas’ Change and Reform List in Gaza – which comprises Hamas’ most prominent leaders – said the Doha Declaration violates Palestinian Basic Law because it allows Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to serve both as president and prime minister of the coalition.

“We call upon the parties who signed and those who sponsored Palestinian reconciliation to reconsider and ... not to bypass Palestinian law,” the parliamentary bloc said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Hamas leaders in the West Bank hailed the accord because it brings the two groups together.

“This is not about choosing Abbas [as prime minister] or forming a unity government as much as it is about ending the state of division [between Hamas and Fatah],” Gaza-based Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said.

Hamas is a terrorist organization that refuses to recognize Israel, renounce terrorism or honor past agreements between the Palestinians and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said if Abbas follows through on the accord, it would be tantamount to rejecting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Netanyahu said Abbas “chooses to abandon the path of peace and join himself to Hamas."

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