Hamas Lawmakers: Unity Deal With Abbas Illegal

Published February 8, 2012 3:00PM (EST)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Hamas parliamentary bloc in the Gaza Strip has come out against the latest reconciliation deal with rival Fatah, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas risks losing jobs and influence in Gaza under the deal, which was signed in Qatar this week by Abbas and the exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal.

In a statement Wednesday, the 31 Gaza lawmakers said the deal is illegal. Critics say Abbas cannot be both president and prime minister.

It calls for Abbas to head a unity government to prepare for elections later this year.

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza has said the agreement would be carried out, despite the criticism.

It's meant to end a split that resulted when Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007, leaving Abbas with only the West Bank.

By Salon Staff

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