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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Hamas calls Abu Mazen's referendum 'illegal'

Hamas, which has previously rejected Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's call for a referendum on the so-called Prisoners' Document now says that such a referendum would be 'illegal.'

"The local law does not permit holding referendums on the Palestinian law," 'Prime Minister' Ismael Haniyeh told reporters. However, he said he would try to continue a dialogue with Abu Mazen about the plan. Abu Mazen has given Hamas an additional two days to accept the plan or go to a referendum.

Parliament speaker Abdel Aziz Duaik, who represented Hamas in Sunday's meeting with Fatah's representatives, said talks have stalled on procedural issues. Hamas is demanding that the dialogue be moved to the Gaza Strip, where most of its leaders are located.

He said the other participants in Sunday's meeting, including top Fatah official Raouhi Fattouh, agreed to go to Gaza later in the day to meet Hamas leaders. But officials said Abbas has no plans to travel to Gaza (where he likely fears for his life). Israel does not permit Hamas leaders to travel between the West Bank and Gaza, and therefore only Fatah's leaders may travel.

Abu Mazen is operating from a position of strength. Polls show 80-90% of the 'Palestinians' approving of the 'Prisoners' Document' and over the weekend, Fatah won student elections at each of al-Quds University's five Gaza campuses with between 75 and 84% of the vote.


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