Hamas chiefs fall out over talks with Israel


May 24, 2011
Sarah Benton
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Hamas Gaza leader slams Meshaal over Israel comment
AFP/NOW Lebanon
May 24, 2011

A senior Hamas official in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, has slammed the Islamist group’s Damascus chief for saying negotiations with Israel should be given a chance, in an interview published on Tuesday.
“We were not informed beforehand of [Hamas Syria leader] Khaled Meshaal’s position, nor did he consult with anyone in the party,” said Zahar, quoted by Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar.
Meshaal said earlier this month that his Islamist group’s only fight was with Israel, adding that the four-year rift with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction was over.
But in a rare public spat between Hamas leaders, Zahar responded by saying that Meshaal did not speak on behalf of all party members.
“We have never given Fatah the privilege of negotiating on our behalf or on behalf of the Palestinian people,” he said.
“Whoever says that we have negotiated or are negotiating with Fatah does not represent the position of our party.”
Zahar’s statements in turn sparked yet another response by Damascus-based Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
“Our brother Mahmoud Zahar is not qualified to comment on the statements of the Hamas leadership and his remarks do not reflect the position of our party,” said Ezzat al-Rashq, a member of Hamas’ politburo.
“There is no disagreement within Hamas … all its decisions are made unanimously,” he said in a statement.

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