Erakat: not happy
The PA’s Saeb Erakat has taken exception to American objections to the idea that the Islamic terrorist group Hamas might join the PA’s governing body. From Middle East Online:
GAZA CITY – The Palestinian Authority told the United States on Wednesday to keep out of “internal Palestinian affairs” after Washington spoke against any move to integrate the hardline Hamas movement in the political fold.
“The intra-Palestinian dialogue should be held in the national interest and it is an internal Palestinian affair,” negotiations minister Saeb Erakat said.
“Political pluralism does not mean that there will be plurality within the authority,” added Erakat, making clear that the current leadership would not allow Hamas to become a parallel power within the authority.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat told the latest edition of the German weekly Focus that he wanted Hamas to be brought into the Palestinian Authority, which is currently dominated by his Fatah movement.
The US State Department reacted by warning against any such move, describing the movement as “a terrorist organization” which it said should be left out in the cold.
“Our view is that, far from being welcomed into any partnership or cooperation, Hamas should be ostracized and disempowered as an organization,” said spokesman Adam Ereli.
Hamas has said it is ready to join the Palestinian Authority but will not accept being restricted to a symbolic role.
Its willingness to enter the political mainstream, after previously boycotting elections and Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation, has been stoked by the prospect of an Israeli pull-out from its Gaza stronghold.