Haniyeh: Hamas places national interest first, agrees to consecutive elections

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Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh stressed on Sunday evening that his movement is prepared to resume the Palestinian national dialogue and reach agreement to hold parliamentarian, presidential and Palestinian National Council elections.

In a televised speech, Haniyeh pointed out that he received a letter from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in response to a previous one penned by him.

Abbas indicated in the letter that he is committed to holding the elections and achieve partnership in the Palestinian institutions.

“We are in a promising and crucial stage to reach an agreement paving the way for a new historic epoch in the history of the Palestinian people,” said Haniyeh.

The top Hamas leader also mentioned that he has sent letters to all secretaries-general of the Palestinian factions and received positive responses in this regard.

“Hamas wants to get into this dialogue as soon as possible based on upholding the Palestinian people’s right to resist the Israeli occupation with all the means possible accompanied with political, diplomatic and legal efforts to defend the Palestinian people,” Haniyeh confirmed.

He emphasised that Hamas is looking forward to the presidential decree to announce the timetable of the elections so that further arrangements can be discussed in details by the factions.

“Through this dialogue, we are looking forward to restructuring the Palestinian institutions including the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and ending the Palestinian split by having one parliament and forming a united government,” said Haniyeh, confirming that Hamas will respect the Palestinians’ choice in transparent and free elections.

Haniyeh stressed that the movement is determined to achieve unity and end the Palestinian split. “Hamas places the Palestinian national interest first…We have many difficult responsibilities at the domestic level and at the level of resisting the Israeli occupation,” he said.

He confirmed that the bilateral contacts with Fatah are not intended to exclude other Palestinian factions, noting that Hamas has other direct communication channels with all factions.

He continued: “Hamas has responded positively to all previous efforts to achieve unity…But we have recently reached some serious understandings in Istanbul, in the conference of the secretaries-general of the Palestinian factions, and in Cairo.”

He added: “In Cairo, we had different views on whether the elections will be held consecutively or simultaneously…Hamas wanted simultaneous elections to build up the Palestinian political system based on partnership at once.”

The movement later agreed to hold the three votes consecutively.

The Hamas chief revealed that many countries have contacted Hamas to resume the reconciliation talks recently and the movement agreed to do.

Source : Hamas