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Hamas official: Reconciliation talks beset by mistrust
Published Tuesday 17/01/2012 (updated) 18/01/2012 13:25
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Demonstrators attend a rally calling for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah
in Bethlehem on March 15, 2011. (MaanImages/Luay Sababa)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A senior Hamas official has told Ma'an that ongoing talks to implement the party's reconciliation agreement with Fatah are undermined by low confidence between the factions.

Both parties want to achieve national unity but the reconciliation deal, signed in Cairo last May, is plagued by a lack of trust, the Hamas official told Ma'an on Monday on condition of anonymity.

The deal aimed to end four years of divided government by forming a joint administration that would pave the way for elections. When the parties failed to agree on a candidate to lead the unity cabinet, they decided to proceed to elections without joining the governments.

The Hamas leader told Ma'an the failure to form a joint administration has made implementing terms of the agreement difficult.

A united government would have been a turning point in the division, the Hamas official said.

The West Bank and Gaza have been governed by rival administrations since 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, a year after it won elections. Fatah dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

After Hamas and Fatah party chiefs met in November to kick start the stalled deal, several cross-party committees were formed to implement terms of the agreement, including the release of political detainees held by both sides.

Talks between the parties and the work of the reconciliation committees are mismanaged and lack follow-up, the Hamas official told Ma'an.

He said Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas is distracted by talks with Israel.

Hamas opposes negotiations with Israel, and party leaders in Gaza warned it would harm the agreement with Fatah. But Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal said while his party rejected negotiations, but that talks would not affect reconciliation.

No Hamas presidential candidate

Party leaders have indicated that elections will be held in May under the deal, the first national poll since Hamas gained a parliamentary majority in 2006.

The official said Hamas would not offer a candidate for the presidential elections because of the ongoing occupation, the situation in the West Bank and the party's tense relations with the international community.

The US and EU -- key donors to the Palestinian Authority -- consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

Despite the recent success of Islamist parties in some Arab countries, the situation is different in Palestine and Hamas is not in a position to run in presidential elections, he said. He said Hamas and Fatah would agree on a candidate for the presidency.

Asked about upcoming internal elections in the Hamas movement, the official said politburo chief Khalid Mashaal would step down and probably be replaced by his deputy Mousa Abu Marzouq.

Mashaal cannot run again to head the politburo as he has served the party's limit of two terms in office.
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1 ) Nour / One-State
17/01/2012 11:03
The enemy is clear. It's these pests plaguing Palestinian life (Hamas and Fatah) who are jeopardizing 63-years of struggle against colonialism and apartheid. THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE DEMAND THE DISSOLUTION OF THE PA AND A RETURN TO A HUMANITARIAN SOLUTION, THE DEMOCRATIC SOLUTION, OF PALESTINE FROM RIVER TO SEA.

2 ) ONLY 4-7% Away From Statehood / \ PLO Should Finish It Alone
17/01/2012 14:52
PLO executive committee member Tayseer Khaled told Gulf News, that
"recent talks in Jordan revealed Israel wants to retain 6-9% of Judea/Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem. Many factions within the Palestinian political spectrum strictly oppose this offer, but officials in Ramallah had taken the 'controversial step' of tentatively agreeing to cede 2%" !!!!

I can NOT believe it !!
We are ONLY 4-7% away from statehood, if we can accept a Jewish state,
and absorb our own refugees !!!


3 ) EE / UK
17/01/2012 16:27
Interesting detail: Hamas is not afraid to demand that Fatah and PLO quit peace process or whatever left of it. On other hand Abbas, Fatah, PLO or PA never asked Hamas to abandon terror. It explains what this reconciliation is about - Hamas is taking control over PA, PLO and West Bank in general.

4 ) @ #2 / We Can NOT
17/01/2012 18:40
[1] We can NOT now, or ever, accept a Jewish state's right to exist, and
[2] the same goes for both accepting that
a- E. Jerusalem (which you forgot) will be in the Jewish state, and
b- absorbing our own refugees into what could become our state,
instead of the Jewish state !!

And since We Can NOT, "Palestine, as One Of Two States" is a dead issue,
and the whole world should move on to issues, with a hope of resolution !!

5 ) nour / 1 gaza
17/01/2012 22:28
ah, lovely, feast to the eyes of the artist, music to the ears of the calassical listner. enchore

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/01/2012 23:55
re 'ONLY' #2 'We...' The Zionist idiot who imagines he's cleverly pretending to be Palestinian strikes again. Is this always the same guy, or are there several of them? Ma'an presumably has the IP addresses and could work this out.

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/01/2012 23:57
To EE #3 'Hamas is taking control over PA, PLO and West Bank in general...' One can always hope. I can't see things actually getting worse as a result. In fact, no matter how Israel plays that one, she loses.

8 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
18/01/2012 06:03
@ 1) Nour / One-State, Your frustration about intra-Palestinian disunity is genuinely understandable. Here is the SUPREME frustration for you to know: There will NEVER be a Palestine from (Jordan/Palestine) River to (Mediterranean) Sea. How's that for raising your hopes ??? ... @ 2), You're right (at least from a mathematical view). Point is: If our government ever proposes to give up ANY W. Bank land we're on that government will be voted down VERY fast.

9 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
18/01/2012 06:12
"Hamas official: Reconciliation talks beset by mistrust" ... So how many times do I have to tell you people that Palestinian "reconciliation" and "unity" is the longest-running comedy show around here ??? ...
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