Palestinian elections to be held on May 4, Mahmoud Abbas hopes
From time to time, the Palestine Center distributes articles it believes will enhance understanding of the Palestinian political reality. The following article was published by The Telegraph on 28 November 2011.
"I hope, God willing, that the elections will be on May 4," Mr Abbas said during a visit to Vienna.
The comments followed Mr Abbas's reconciliation talks last week in Cairo with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal aimed at cementing a stalled unity deal signed six months ago.
In Cairo, Mr Abbas and Mr Meshaal approved a two-page document reiterating their commitment to the main elements of the original deal, saying they would establish a joint government after elections in May 2012.
Hailing a new era of "partnership," they pledged to resolve the issue of political prisoners "within days" and said they would put together a temporary cabinet of independents, to be agreed upon next month.
In Vienna, Mr Abbas stressed that this interim government, paving the way for the parliamentary and presidential elections, would not be dominated by either side.
"The interim government will be made up of technocrats and independent members. ... This will not be a government of either Fatah or of Hamas, but an independent one," Mr Abbas said.
Israel has expressed unease at the rapprochement, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman on Thursday saying the closer Mr Abbas gets to Hamas, "the further he moves away from peace."
Mr Abbas also said in Vienna that the refusal of Hamas to recognise Israel could be addressed in the next round of talks between the two groups.
"I would wish that Hamas would agree to this," Mr Abbas said. "Maybe this will be an issue to talk about in our next meeting."
He said this was not discussed with Meshaal in Cairo.
"I think these talks were an important step. Of course they did not address all the issues, but both sides clarified their positions," Abbas said.
He said Hamas was ready to accept a Palestinian state within 1967 borders and that resistance would be "peaceful".
The United States and the European Union have said they will not work with a government that includes Hamas unless the Islamists recognise Israel, renounce violence and agree to abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund.
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