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Palestinians Need Coalition Gov't to Be Established Soon
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Forming a national coalition government to end the ongoing political and financial crises is becoming an urgent issue yet to be solved by the Hamas-led government and President Mahmoud Abbas.

Many Palestinians believe that forming such a government would be the rescue ring for the people who have been passing through a financial and political crises since Hamas, which won the legislative election in January, took office and formed a government in late March.

"Since Hamas took office, until now, employees haven't been paid their salaries regularly, the political process turned into military conflicts, crossings were closed down and the situation is getting worse and worse day after day," said Hani Habib, a Palestinian analyst from Gaza.

He said that Israel had managed to a great extent to convince the Palestinians that all these difficulties they are facing "are due to the fact that Hamas is leading the government alone, rejects all peace initiatives and signed accords and rejects condemnation of violence and recognition of Israel's existence."

Since Hamas formed a government in late March, in which a vast majority of cabinet ministers are from Hamas, Israel and donor countries led by the United States have decided to cut off financial aid they had used to pay the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) since it was established in 1994.

The countries insisted that a new Palestinian government led by Hamas recognize the state of Israel and honor all the signed agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinians and stop and condemn violence.

However, the Hamas-led government rejected the conditions, saying the Palestinians would never kneel before these conditions.

Hamas officials said the world should respect the choice of the Palestinian people and political program Hamas presented in the legislative election.

Habib said, "If the world refuses to deal with the government, I believe that the only solution to get out of the crisis is to modify the movement's political program and form a national coalition government."

All factions and political powers, including Hamas and Fatah, can join a coalition cabinet, he said.

On June 24, Prime Minister Ismail Haneya and Abbas agreed on the Prisoners' Document of National Accordance adopted by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, which recognizes Israel and calls for a Palestinian statehood alongside it.

It was also agreed between Haneya and Abbas, also chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), that a national coalition government should be formed after officially accepting the document.

However, efforts failed in the wake of an attack carried out by Hamas' armed wing and two minor group on an Israeli military base on June 25, during which two Israeli soldiers were killed and another kidnapped.

The groups insisted that Israel release Palestinian prisoners from its jails in exchange for freeing 20-year-old Gilad Shalit.

In response, Israel launched a major military action in the Gaza Strip. The issue of forming a coalition was naturally postponed.

"The soldier would be freed sooner or later, but the crisis must find an outlet," said Ghassan Ahmed, a political science teacher.

"We believe that getting out of the crisis can be only by forming a national coalition government that adopts a political platform that convinces the world to end its siege and boycott," he said.

He said that recent days had shown contradictions in officials' statements related to forming a coalition government, adding that officials in the government as well as Abbas should unite their efforts and form a coalition as soon as possible to end the people 's suffering.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Saturday that Abbas and Haneya held a meeting in Gaza, expecting that a coalition government would be formed within 10 days.

But, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO member, said that Hamas still rejects the PLO's strategy, the Arab Peace Initiative and agreements signed by the PLO and Israel.

Khalil Al-Hayya, head of Hamas' block in the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that talks on forming a national coalition government are just beginning.

"I can not confirm that it would be formed within the coming 10 days, but I hope that the coalition government would be formed very soon," said Al-Hayya.

(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2006)

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