Annan: Israel must allow Hamas to run in Palestinian elections
Meeting with Geneva Initiative's Beilin and Abbed Rabbo, Annan says no armed militia should sit in the Palestinian parliament.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on Tuesday met with the heads of the Geneva peace initiative, Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, and told them that Israel should not oppose Hamas taking part in January's Palestinian Authority general elections.
Annan said, however, that it was important that no armed militia sit in the Palestinian parliament. He also said that the demand that Hamas disarm itself before the general elections would only strengthen the radical Islamic group on the account of other moderate movements.
Report: Palestinian factions vow to honor PLC election resultsTwelve Palestinian factions, but not Hamas, signed an agreement Monday night to honor the results of the January 2006 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, media reports said Tuesday.
The factions also agreed that they would not carry weapons while campaigning, Israel Radio reported.
The Voice of Palestine radio station said that Hamas did not sign the agreement under instructions from its leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, who objected to a clause in the agreement banning campaigning in mosques.
Meanwile, the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, which is printed in London, reported Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority security forces are taking up position in the Gaza Strip, in particular around the main command centers, fearing an attack on them by Hamas.
Last week, the Palestinian Authority asked Israel not to meddle in the elections, and not to attempt to prevent the participation of Hamas, lest this serve only to strengthen the organization.
"Don't interfere with our elections," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Vice Premier Shimon Peres at a meeting on Friday.
"Leave it to us. Any intervention of yours only strengthens Hamas. You believe you are weakening it, but the result is the opposite."
Erekat said the elections will take place in January, in accordance with the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement from 1995, which established the political framework for the PA, and prohibited the participation of parties "if such candidates, parties, or coalitions commit or advocate racism or pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or nondemocratic means."
The Israeli position views the participation of Hamas in the election as a violation of the clause, because Hamas carries out terror attacks and its covenant calls explicitly for the destruction of Israel.