At a news conference on July 7, Zahar became the first Hamas leader to
reject the PA effort for unilateral statehood. Zahar said the campaign no
longer made sense and would torpedo any Fatah-Hamas reconciliation accord,
signed in May but never implemented.
"Under U.S. and Israeli pressure, he has emptied the contents of the
agreement," Zahar said.
Zahar was the first Hamas leader to challenge the reconciliation accord,
approved by political bureau chief Khaled Masha'al. In a rare public
challenge, Zahar questioned the authority of the Hamas leadership in Syria
to decide the future of the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas since 2007.
A key obstacle to the reconciliation accord was Abbas' insistence to
approve the post of prime minister in a PA national unity government. Abbas
has sought to keep Salam Fayad, supported by the West, in the post.
"The agreement called for everything to be done by consensus, but he
[Abbas] insists to defer any vote by the legislature," Zahar said. "This is
to what was agreed upon."
Zahar said Abbas has proposed that the reconciliation agreement be
suspended. The Hamas leader said the PA chairman wants only to acquire Hamas
support for unilateral statehood in September.
"President Abbas is insisting on names for the premiership that are
rejected by Hamas," Zahar said. "President Abbas is trying to delay issues
that are related to reconciliation in order to reach the September bid. This
has no meaning and gives nothing to the Palestinian people."
Zahar said Fatah and Hamas could eventually implement a reconciliation
accord. But he said this would take place as a result of pressure from
"The street will impose this at the right moment even if Abu Mazen
avoids this," Zahar said.