Hamas slams PNA minister over appeals to end Gaza rule

May 4, 2009 1:39 am 

GAZA, May 3 — Hamas on Sunday lashed out at a Palestinian National Authority (PNA) minister for calling on Hamas to end its rule in the Gaza Strip.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Minister of Agriculture and Social Welfare, said "ending Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip is a national, moral and religious duty and this should be accomplished as soon as possible."

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said the" declarations of Al- Habbash indicate that he is not concerned about the success of the national dialogue," which has been held in Cairo since March.

"Al-Habbash wants to obstruct the national dialogue," Barhoum said, adding that "any attempt to damage Hamas is definitely going to fail."

Barhoum pointed out that Al-Habbash is "escaping from justice and trying to cover his crimes" by this statement.

Al-Habbash, who fled the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Hamas seized control of the coastal strip, was appointed as minister in a Western-backed government which President Mahmoud Abbas formed in the West Bank after his forces were defeated in Gaza.

During the interview, Al-Habbash also called on the Gaza population to peacefully counter Hamas. "Hamas does not have mercy on anybody in Gaza, and they oppress all, including media and political activities," he said.

Such comments came against the backdrop of the failure of Hamas and Fatah to reach an agreement in the Cairo dialogue and declarations that the Palestinian president plans to ask an independent figure to form a new government soon. (PNA/Xinhua)

DCT/rsm

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