Hamas to Present Cabinet; Smaller Factions May Not Join

Hamas is slated to present its cabinet to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas tomorrow and bring it to the Palestinian parliament for approval Monday, Hamas representatives in Gaza said yesterday.

The announcement came after talks yesterday with small parliamentary factions, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Third Way (headed by former finance minister Salam Fayad), the Alternative List (Badil, a combination of three small left-wing parties) and Independent Palestine (headed by Mustafa Barghouti). The Hamas officials said they were still hoping the factions would agree to join the government.

The factions' apparent refusal to join a Hamas-led government indicates that the changes Hamas has made to its proposed basic principles of government are insufficient. Hamas has already submitted three draft proposals to the factions.

The first draft proposal discussed considering negotiations with Israel only if the latter first recognizes the rights of the Palestinian people and guarantees a full withdrawal to 1967 lines.

Fatah has said it cannot join a government that does not accept the "strategic" principle of negotiating with Israel, and Fayad has said he will not join a government without Fatah.

Other factions did not insist on negotiations, but wanted the basic principles to mention the Palestine Liberation Organization and its status as the representative of the Palestinian people, as well as the international decisions regarding a resolution of the conflict and a Palestinian state.

Fatah and Independent Palestine also want a mention of the 1988 PLO's declaration of independence, which, like the international decisions, imply recognition of Israel.