After talks with Hamas failed; Abbas to call referendum on Prisoners Document

June 6, 2006 5:59 AM IMEMC & Agencies Diplomacy, News Report, Palestine 0

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas informed delegates from various Palestinian factions that efforts aimed at getting the Hamas government to support the prisoners’ document for a two-state solution have failed, and that he will call a national referendum on the issue.

Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, had until midnight to accept the National Reconciliation Document, drafted by Palestinian detainees in Israeli detention facilities and prisons.

The document calls for the recognition of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian State in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem.

Abbas announced his decision after a 70-minute phone call with the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya before midnight.

“On Tuesday, the Palestinian president will fix the date of a referendum following the failure of Palestinian factions to reach a political agreement”, Abbas’ office announced.

Abbas told delegates from Palestinian factions on Monday that efforts aimed at getting the Hamas government to recognize Israel have failed and that he will call a referendum.

The meeting ended minutes before a midnight deadline Abbas gave Hamas for accepting the detainees’ document.

A statement released by the office of Abbas said that the president will set the date for the referendum after a Tuesday meeting with the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, (PLO).

After a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, Abbas said that "If anyone wants to amend this document, then we will not reach any results”.

Meanwhile, Monday night after midnight, Hamas called on Abbas to withdraw his position and his call for a national referendum on the detainees national reconciliation document.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group was ready to continue negotiations, but rejected the deadline set by Abbas.

"We are against the referendum, we reject this referendum, we call on president Abbas to reconsider his decision”, Abu Zuhri said during the press conference that was held after midnight, “In order to maintain the unity of our people, and to maintain our standards, we call on Abbas to reconsider this position”.
He added that there is no need for referendum especially since Hamas and several other movements are ready to negotiate and hold further talks”.

“We aren’t afraid of the referendum, we participated in the elections several months ago, we know our power, Abu Zuhri added, “We are ready and willing to negotiate, but we reject the referendum”.

The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported that Abbas is to set the date for the referendum after meeting the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Tuesday.

"In light of recent contacts, President Abbas will decide the date of the referendum after a meeting of the PLO executive committee," a statement published by WAFA reads.

At 11 A.M. on Tuesday, the PLO executive will convene to authorize Abbas to issue a presidential statement announcement the referendum on the prisoners’ plan.

Azzam Al Ahmad, head of the Fateh bloc at the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), said that the national dialog has ended without reaching any agreement on the detainees’ document.  

Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine officially announced its rejection to the referendum and considered it a way to manipulate the national dialog and the Palestinian people “who have the right to resist the Israeli occupation”.  

Mohammad Al Harazeen, on of the prominent leaders of the Islamic Jihad, said that the referendum “confiscates the right of the coming generation to fighter for the liberation of the historic Palestine, occupied in 1948”.

Al Harazeen added that the movement demands the continuation of the national dialog “since it is the only alternative available for the Palestinians”.

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