In a letter to Ismail Haniya on Saturday, the Hamas prime minister-designate, Abbas laid out fundamental disagreements with the new government's platform, reported the London-based Guardian newspaper.

Quoting sources close to Abbas, the newspaper said the letter was intended to "draw the battle lines" with Hamas. It also served as a warning to Israel and foreign powers that threats to sever aid and links were likely to strengthen rather than weaken the Islamist party.

Realpolitik

"This is a question of political timing. For now it's in our interests for Hamas to experience the complexities of government, for Hamas to face the political, economic, security crises," the Guardian quoted the source as saying.

"Abu Mazen doesn't want Hamas to fail, he wants it to transform, to accept the basic tenets of the political system."

 

"Abu Mazen doesn't want Hamas to fail, he wants it to transform, to accept the basic tenets of the political system."

Palestinian official close to President Abbas

The resistance group, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel, has indicated that it may consider a long-time truce with the Jewish state if it withdrew from the territories it seized in 1967 – among them Arab east Jerusalem.


Israel said last week that it would boycott Hamas, which is on the terror list of the European Union and the United States.

 

Abbas also planned to delay the installation of the government until after the Israeli general elections on Tuesday, out of concern that the swearing-in of a Hamas prime minister could push some voters to the right.

 

Recognising Israel

 

In his letter to Haniya, Abbas outlined six areas where he said the Hamas cabinet's programme was "detrimental" to the Palestinian people, the Guardian reported. 

 

The letter stated that Hamas policies, including its refusal to recognise Israel, would damage or reverse "diplomatic achievements", give Israel a continued pretext for refusing to negotiate, and cost the Palestinian Authority foreign aid.

 

Abbas also said that Hamas's stand on Israel prevented the creation of a national unity government with his own Fatah party and other parties which support negotiation.

 

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Haniya would study Abbas's "observations".

 

Minister-designate quits

 

The new Hamas government is to
be approved formally on Monday

Meanwhile, the sole Christian minister in the prospective Hamas-dominated government said on Saturday that he was  resigning.

  

Tanas Abu Eita, from the West Bank town of Bait Sahur near Bethlehem, declined to say why he had taken the decision when asked by AFP. He was to have been the tourism minister.

  

Hamas sources confirmed that Abu Eita had tendered his  resignation and blamed local and US-led international  pressure.

  

"We are now looking for another Christian to replace him," a Hamas spokesman said.

  

Abu Eitta was one of the few independents in the government line-up after all other factions represented in parliament declined to join it.