Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh voiced his opposition Sunday to the "prisoners’ document" for Palestinian internal unity, saying that Palestinian President Abbas’ ultimatum on the initiative was illegal under the Palestinian constitution.
The basic principles of the document include the recognition of Israel and a state within the 1967 borders.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave Hamas a 2-day ultimatum to accept the document, before heading to a referendum. But Haniyeh, who had said from the beginning that his movement would not accept the document as is, sounded as if he was unprepared to change his mind on the issue.
"The local law does not permit holding referendums on the Palestinian law," Haniyeh told reporters. However, he said he would try to continue a dialogue with Abbas over the plan.
Sources near President Abbas said that he is hoping for a breakthrough in talks with Hamas, but doubts that such a breakthrough will occur, adding that Palestinians must prepare for a referendum in the coming weeks.
Another sign of the tensions between Fateh and the Hamas-led government was seen over the weekend following the deployment of a special Fateh force in the West Bank city of Jenin. After the deployment, some members of the armed wing of the Fateh movement called for similar forces to be deployed in other parts of the West Bank.
Palestinian government ministers and senior Hamas officials have stated that the new force was not sanctioned by their government, and is illegal.