RAMALLAH, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Sunday accused Islamic Hamas movement of negotiating a long-term truce with Israel, implicitly recognizing a Palestinian state with temporary borders.
But Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, denied the accusation. The trade of accusations is part of different -- but mainly angry - - Palestinian responses to President Mahmoud Abbas, who said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 that Palestine for him was Gaza and the West Bank.
"The Palestinian leadership have certain documents and information that Hamas and Israel are conducting secret contacts," said Hussein al-Sheikh, minister of civil affairs. Al-Sheikh said that an Arab state that he would not name was sponsoring the discussions between Hamas and Israel.
However, al-Sheikh noted that the United States encouraged these contacts as a way of pressure on the Palestinian leadership to cancel its planned approach to the United Nations, where the Palestinian leadership hopes to upgrade its status to a non-member state.
Hamas harshly attacked Abbas for his remarks to the Israeli television, saying he effectively denied the right of million of refugees to return home in what has become Israel.
On Saturday, Nabil Abu Rdineh, spokesman for Abbas, said that Hamas-Israel secret negotiations drop the final-status issues like the refugees and Jerusalem, since their talks are based on a provisional-borders state with a truce that extends for 50 years.
But Ismail Al-Ashqar, a Hamas official, denied holding talks with Israel, accusing the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership of "spreading lies to distort the image of Hamas."
"It is clear that those who deeply recognized Israel want the Islamic movements to do the same, but this will never happen and Hamas will never recognize Israel," Al-Ashqar said.