Reform must come before mediation, says expert
CAIRO: Much to the chagrin of Hamas, cut off and surrounded in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in Ramallah Wednesday he will hold early parliamentary and presidential elections, as a direct result of what he termed Hamas’ “coup last month.
“We will call … for early legislative and presidential elections and we will not wait for approval from those sitting over there in Gaza or from those sitting abroad, Abbas said in his speech.
Abbas added that there would be no attempts at dialogue with those who staged the “coup unless Hamas agreed to help facilitate the elections.
“Hamas dug their own grave as a result of the crimes they carried out in Gaza, Abbas also said in his speech, “they have brought upon themselves their loss of legitimacy.
And in a clear indication of where moderate Arab states lie on the spectrum of support between Fatah and Hamas, former Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Mohammed Bassiouny told The Daily Star Egypt that in Palestine “reform must come before mediation. Meaning that before trying to sit Hamas and Fatah down to resolve their differences, there must be a return to previous circumstances and a handing back of the key security posts that have been seized.
Bassiouny described the clashes that took place last month between the two factions which saw Hamas wrestle control over the Gaza Strip in similar term as Abbas, calling it a “military coup.
“Abbas said in his speech that Hamas must be punished for what they have done, he added.
And as for the early elections Abbas has called for, Bassiouny said, “Hamas must recognize the legitimacy of it and leave the security posts for those who were in charge.
When exactly these elections would take place is not clear, but Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters that “elections could be held within three months, in a year, or more than year. It depends on the preparations and conditions.
Hamas however do not seem inclined to take such advice from Bassiouny, or threats from Abbas, seeing as they won a parliamentary majority in elections last year, and thus still consider themselves the rightful, democratically-elected government.
“The president s call for early elections is unacceptable, unconstitutional and illegal. It will remain only as ink on paper, and neither Abbas nor all the papers [that] support him will be able to hold any election as long as Hamas rejects it, senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza.
Despite the continuous alarming decline in inter-Palestinian relations Bassiouny said “we must not lose hope and must continue to work for unity amongst the Palestinians.