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New Govt will not recognise Israel: Hamas

india Updated: Nov 14, 2006 17:04 IST
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The new Palestinian unity cabinet will not recognise Israel, a chief condition for resuming Western aid to the government, a top official with the ruling Islamist movement Hamas said on Tuesday.

"The next government was not asked to recognize Israel and it will not do so," Mussa Abu Marzuk, the second-in-command of Hamas's political wing based in Damascus, told Palestinian press agency Ramattan.

"The question of recognising Israel is an unprecedented one on the international level," he said.

"It was not asked from the two Germanys to recognize each other, while the whole world recognised them."

"Why should Palestine, which is not yet a state, recognize Israel?" he said, also citing as an example China and Taiwan.

The statement came as the two main Palestinian factions, president Mahmud Abbas's secular Fatah and the ruling Hamas, haggled over portfolios in a new unity government.

Recognizing Israel, along with renouncing violence and agreeing to abide by past peace deals, is a top condition that the West has demanded of the Palestinian government in order to resume financial aid.

Direct aid to the Palestinians was cut after Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union and United States, formed a cabinet in March.

The freeze has plunged the Palestinian territories into unprecedented political and financial crisis and the Palestinians hope the aid will resume with the formation of a new unity cabinet.

Earlier this week, Fatah and Hamas agreed that an independent US-educated academic, Mohammed Shbeir, will head the new cabinet, replacing Hamas's Ismail Haniya.

Shbeir, a clinical biologist and former head of the Islamic University in Gaza, is widely believed to be a Hamas sympathiser but has never been an official member of the movement.

Marzuk, a deputy of exiled Hamas's political supremo Khaled Meshaal also based in Damascus, said that Hamas would give up "11 or 12 portfolios" in the new unity cabinet.

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