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Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hamas floats negotiating plan

May 25, 2006

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— The Hamas-led government is open to the idea of joining a Palestinian task force that would support negotiations with Israel, the deputy prime minister from Hamas said Wednesday.

The proposal, to be discussed this week among Palestinian factions, represents a possible way out of a crippling international boycott of the Palestinian Authority.

Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer said the new Hamas-led government is searching for a way to accept international realities without caving in to pressure. "Hamas does not want to lose its supporters, but at the same time does not want to fight the whole world," he said.

The boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority is causing a financial and humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza, with the government unable to pay some 165,000 public employees whose salaries form the backbone of the Palestinian economy.

An Israeli spokesman brushed off the idea, calling it "verbal gymnastics and double talk."

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