Deposed Hamas PM plays down Abbas’ dialogue call

By Xinhua,

Gaza : Deposed Prime Minister of the Hamas unity government, Ismail Haneya, on Sunday played down Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent call for national dialogue.

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“Abbas’ call for dialogue witnessed a change in the language, not the substance,” Haneya told a group of journalists in Gaza city.

Haneya said Hamas wishes to see an immediate start of the dialogue without any conditions “to surprise Abbas with steps he has never put in his calculations.”

Since Hamas bloodily took over the Gaza Strip in mid June last year, Abbas repeatedly called on Hamas to end its control of the coastal enclave before starting any talks between the Islamic Hamas movement and his Fatah party.

Late in May, Abbas unexpectedly called for dialogue with Hamas to end the political division between the Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Fatah-dominated West Bank, without explicitly asking Hamas to give up the rein of Gaza.

“We hope that the dialogue will start but we did not receive any invitation so far,” Haneya said, warning that Hamas “will take a position” if Hamas and Fatah do not reach an agreement before the end of Abbas’ term in January.

Meanwhile, Haneya rejected the idea of sending Arab forces to the Gaza Strip to prevent any future tensions between Hamas and Fatah when the dialogue for reconciliation starts.

“No one is thinking to send Arab troops to Gaza and we will not accept the Arab forces,” he said.

Despite the deterioration of Gaza economy due to Israeli sanctions, Haneya said the Gaza Strip “has been more fitting” during the past year under Hamas control, adding that “the legislation, executive and judiciary authorities are working properly.”

After a week of violent infighting in June last year, Hamas chased security forces loyal to Abbas out of the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israel imposed a tightened blockade on Gaza and increased its military operations, causing hardships to some 1.5 million Gazans there.