Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Saturday denounced his party leader’s agreement to accept President Mahmoud Abbas as prime minister in a temporary government to unite Gaza and the West Bank.
Mahmoud Zahar [left] accompanied by Said Siam, interior minister of the Hamas government assassinated by Israel on January 15, 2009.
Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal penned an agreement with Abbas in Qatar on Monday for the Fatah leader to head the unity administration.
Zahar said the decision was "wrong and not strategic," and that Hamas leaders both in the Gaza Strip and abroad had not been consulted on the selection of Abbas, in comments to Gaza’s Middle East News Agency.
Hamas officials will approach Palestinian and international leaders over the next two days to make its rejection of Abbas’s appointment clear, he added.
His comments come after Hamas’ "change and reform" parliamentary committee urged parties involved in the Doha agreement to review its adherence to Palestinian law on Wednesday.
The legislative bloc includes Hamas’ top Gaza-based leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Zahar. They did not attend the ceremony in Qatar where Mashaal and Abbas signed the agreement Monday.
Analysts have long spoken of a split within Hamas between those in the movement who have controlled the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip for the past five years and Mashaal, who had made his base in Damascus.
Hamas official Ahmad Yousef denied the outcry presaged a division in the party. "The difference in opinion is due to the sudden announcement of the meeting ... (and) will be resolved after finding a solution through lawyers," he told Ma’an on Thursday.
Mashaal and Abbas agreed to end the rivalry between their parties in a May 2011 deal, which repeatedly stalled as disagreements rumbled on, including over the candidate to head a unity government.
The agreement sought to end four years of divided administrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, a year after their victory in national elections led to threats of international sanctions.
Ma’an News , 11 February, 2012.