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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Jailed Hamas men retract support of prisoners' plan

HaAretz is reporting this evening that the Hamas prisoner who was responsible for drafting the 'Prisoners' Document' on behalf of Hamas has withdrawn his support for it, as has an Islamic Jihad prisoner who helped draft it, which means that Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's referendum is presenting a document only endorsed by Fatah prisoners.
In a statement issued in the Gaza Strip, Abdel Khaleq Natche, the top Hamas prisoner held by Israel said he was no longer a party to the document.

He accused Abbas of "unacceptable abuse" of the document and exploiting it for political gain. He also said it falsely implied there were divisions between Hamas prisoners, politicians in Gaza, and political leaders living in exile.

"The document now is completely a Fatah document," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, who read the statement on behalf of Natche and Bassem al-Saadi, the Islamic Jihad prisoner who also withdrew his name.

PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said, "it is the right of the prisoners to retract their support, but they will have to face the consequences of the referendum results."


Swiftly rejecting the announcement as a "declaration of a coup against the government", Mushir al-Masri, a leading Hamas legislator, urged Palestinians to boycott the vote.

"Whoever announced the referendum should shoulder the responsibility for the dangerous consequences that may result," Masri said.
The referendum is scheduled for July 31 according to HaAretz.


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