Hamas claim Abbas doesn't want unity deal

By Jennifer Lipman, November 30, 2011
Mahmoud Zahar

Mahmoud Zahar

The prospect of a unity deal between Hamas and Fatah have been further undermined after a high-level Hamas official accused President Mahmoud Abbas of being disinterested in striking one.

Mahmoud Zahar, a leading spokesman for Hamas, said the Palestinian leader was "not interested in achieving" a deal.

He told the Britain-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that Mr Abbas' reluctance meant that "reconciliation will not be achieved at all". He said this was because Mr Abbas feared the consequences of working with the terrorist group Hamas against the wishes of the US and Israel.

Mr Zahar's comments come a week after Mr Abbas met Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal in Cairo to discuss the future of co-operation between the two rival groups.

The Palestinian president said that a "new page" had been opened in communication between the rival factions. A date next May was scheduled this week for national elections.

Last updated: 6:38pm, November 30 2011