View Full Version : Hamas Faces Expulsion Threat

04-24-2006, 07:17 PM
Hamas faces expulsion threat


Staff and agencies
Monday April 24, 2006

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, today warned that he could remove the Hamas government from power if it failed to "face the facts" and recognise Israel.

He said the Palestinian Authority had to establish communication with Israel and renounce violence if it wanted to avoid international isolation and a critical shortfall in aid.

"The constitution gives me clear and definite authority to remove a government from power, but I don't want to use this authority," he told Turkish CNN in an interview broadcast today. "Everyone should know that by law this power is in my hands."

The Palestinian Authority has been facing a cash crisis since the election of the Hamas-dominated parliament.

It costs £75m a month to run the government, but funding from the US, Israel, the European Union and Canada has been suspended because of Hamas' refusal to recognise Israel and renounce violence.

Hamas is on EU and US lists of terrorist groups, meaning that their politicians are forbidden from dealing directly with its members.

Iran and Russia have stepped in over the past month to plug the funding gap, with Tehran pledging £31m, but the aid-dependent economy of the Palestinian territories remains fragile.

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who Mr Abbas is meeting tomorrow, has criticised the EU's decision to cut off funding.

"Without help we can't stand on our feet long," Mr Abbas said. "I'm worried that the situation will turn into a tragedy in the near future. A short time later we could be up against a great hunger disaster in Palestine."

The remarks are a sign of growing divisions between Mr Abbas and the Hamas parliament. Last week he vetoed the establishment of a Hamas police force headed by Jamal Abu Samhadana, a militant who is No 2 on Israel's most-wanted list.

An anonymous Hamas official told the Associated Press that the group would renounce its truce with Israel if forced out of government.

"We will go, but we will not recognise the Palestinian political regime," he said. "We will not participate in any new election and we will go underground as we did before and we will not adhere to any commitments, any truce, by anyone. Being ousted from power will have a heavy price for everyone. We hope not to reach that."

Mr Abbas said he was prepared to bypass Hamas and go directly to the Palestinian people if the party remained intransigent.

"Hamas is still acting as if it were in opposition, not in government. It has to face realities, it has to be in contact with Israel to meet the daily needs of the Palestinian people," he said.

"Hamas has to face the facts and establish communication with Israel .... Hamas can support me or not. When I find a way to a solution with Israel, I'll present this to the Palestinian people in a referendum. The Palestinian people are above Hamas and other politicians."

04-25-2006, 09:55 AM
Ahhhhhhhh democracy.