Hamas said it will hold reconciliation talks with Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
Ismail Haniyeh, the elected prime minister of the Palestinian Authority until he was unilaterally deposed this summer following Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Strip, said Wednesday that representatives of his group and P.A. President Abbas’ Fatah faction will meet as early as next week to mend ties severed in a June civil war.
Israel and the United States reacted negatively to Haniyeh’s statements, saying Hamas should continue to be shunned by Abbas and the international community until it foreswears terrorism and recognizes the Jewish state.
Haniyeh described Hamas’ rule in Gaza, where Fatah was routed by Hamas, as “temporary,” an indication the territory might return to Abbas’ control should there be factional rapprochement.
Fatah said it has no knowledge of any planned talks with Hamas. Abbas, who will attend a peace summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert under United States’ auspices next month, has ruled out engagement with the radical Islamist group unless it first gives up Gaza and accepts his policies.