Crisis as Palestinians build national unity government

Thursday, February 15, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas canceled his speech on Thursday where he was to present the deal he made in Mecca last week with Hamas to form a national unity government.

Abbas also called off his trip to the Gaza Strip where he was to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in establishing the coalition government.

A number of disagreements broke out over the appointment of positions.

The Mecca agreement called for the appointment of a Fatah representative to work under Hamas’ Haniyeh. Fatah selected Hamas’ most widely opposed candidate, Mohammad Dahlan.

“Over our dead bodies,” said a senior Hamas official when asked about the possibility that Dahlan would be appointed. “This man has been involved in the American-backed plot to topple our government. We want a deputy prime minister from the West Bank.”

Hamas officials claimed the delay in establishing a national unity government was due to technical problems, but Fatah said it was because Hamas introduced conditions which contradicted the Mecca agreement.

Meanwhile, prior to the trilateral meeting between the Palestinian Authority, the US and Israel, the US Congress decided to freeze the transfer of $86 million it pledged to Abbas.

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