Palestinian Militant Groups Won't Join Korei Government.
By VOA News & Ha'aretz
The Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they would not join a new Palestinian government to be headed by Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Korei. In a statement Sunday, Hamas said it would not take part in any government whose agenda is based on the Oslo peace accords with Israel from the 1990s.
Islamic Jihad said that before forming a government, Palestinian leaders must agree on a strategy for advancing Palestinian national goals.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas resigned earlier this month, saying that Israel and Palestinian chieftain Yasir Arafat had undermined his efforts to advance the U.S.-backed "road map" plan for peace in the region. Arafat nominated. Korei to fill the post one day later. Korei and leaders of various Palestinian factions held talks on a new government Sunday in Gaza City.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday that the Israeli threat to "remove" Arafat appears to have compelled him to act against terror. "It appears that the reprieve from terror attacks stems from the fact that Arafat was alarmed by the threat, and is acting to prevent terror attacks accordingly."
"We will not change our positions as a result of this or any other vote," Sharon said in the weekly cabinet meeting. "Israel will find ways to prevent disturbances on the part of the person who causes the country such major damage."
Sharon then accused the opposition of making contact with the Palestinian Authority behind the government's back. The prime minister was referring to left-wing activist Uri Avneri, who suggested creating a human shield around Arafat. Sharon also condemned the anti-government demonstrations, saying Israel was going through a difficult time and must be
Sharon was reacting to a minister's suggestion that Israel hold another discussion on whether to "remove" Arafat, and dismissed on Sunday the United Nations General Assembly vote demanding that Israel drop the decision to get rid of the Palestinian leader The vote passed by 133 votes to 4, with 15 abstentions; the United States vetoed the resolution.
The United States and Israel voted "No," joined by the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Kenya and Colombia were among those abstaining.
EU members unanimously swung in line behind the resolution after its sponsors agreed at the last minute to add phrases condemning both Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli targeted killings of Palestinian militants.