Tag Archives: Fatah

Hamas – Fatah– Israel And Reality?

There is a moment of respite in Gaza from the air assault which has caused such devastation in the area. Egyptian leaders are working around the clock to persuade Hamas to cooperate not merely with Israel but with its political rival Fatah and the Abbas government which currently directs the Palestinian Authority. A major problem encountered by Egyptian mediators is that while Hamas is willing to participate in a coalition government with Fatah it wants an end to any cooperation with Israel and pursuing the dream of ending the Israeli state. President Abbas and Egyptian leaders consider such an approach to lead only to disaster and the end of any sensible peace.

Fatah leaders want to take advantage of the new Obama administration and work with it to secure a peace that respects Palestinian rights. There is hope Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will move away from his close ties with Iran and cooperate with Egypt in an effort to bring together Hamas and Fatah.

West Bank Palestinians Calm As Gaza Explodes

Gaza is wracked with violence and death, but West Bank Palestinians are not responding to calls from Hamas to demonstrate in support of those suffering in Gaza. Bassam al-Salihi, a leader of the Popular Party, commented: “the Palestinian population no longer has any confidence in its national leaders, that’s why there has been no mass mobilization against the Israeli operation in Gaza.” The years of feuding and inability to cooperate in the pursuit of peace has left West Bank Palestinians dejected and cynical about any effort suggested by either Hamas or Fatah to produce peace. There is no leader who can order a third intifada because no consensus on the future of Palestine is present among its people. In the 2006 elections, the people of Gaza voted for Hamas while the West Bank remained loyal to Fatah.

Nothing will change until a Palestine government finally focuses on a solution that entails compromise and moves away from positions from which there is no movement. The people of Palestine need a Nelson Mandela who has a vision of the future that requires taking the first step in hope it will result in future steps toward peace and prosperity.

Egypt Blasts Hamas For Foiling Peace

Egypt is the only Arab nation which has actually been actively engaged in attempting to resolve internal Palestinian differences in order to work for peace with Israel. This has caused tensions between Egyptian officials who are responsible for guarding its border with Gaza. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit finally came out publicly to complain efforts to attain peace between Fatah and Hamas had broken down due to “Hamas’ lack of enthusiasm toward reconciliation.” The Egyptians have been working with over 13 Palestinian factions in order to get some semblance of unity. One proposal was to create a new government run by men and women with technical experience who were not bound to be for either Hamas or Fatah. It was believed such a government would be warmly welcomed by the United States and the European Union, but Hamas pulled out of the agreement at the last moment.

Egypt has now made clear to the Arab League it was supporting President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. This confusion illustrates difficulties on the part of Israel to work out a compromise solution with Palestinian factions.

Hamas And Abbas Still Not Talking

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Hamas he would call elections early next year if the rival movement does not open reconciliation with him. At present, Abbas is in control of parts of the West Bank and other areas in Palestine while Hamas is in charge of the Gaza Strip. Hamas rejected his call for talks and compromise since they fear an election might result in their defeat. Hamas never was elected to control the Gaza area since they took power in a coup d’etat. Earlier this month this was an attempt to hold conciliation talks with Egypt serving as a mediator but Hamas canceled their appearance at the sessions.

Hamas currently has a majority in the Palestinian legislature but it is uncertain if that would hold up in a new election. Many Palestinians desire a compromise with Israel but that is hampered by constant rocket attacks from the Gaza strip. Hamas insists Abbas wants to work a deal with Israel and Hamas rejects such a solution. It is completely unclear exactly how Hamas plans to end the stalemate and get a Palestinian state.

Egypt Seeks Palestinian Unity

The Egyptian government called on rival Palestinian factions to unite in order to further the needs of Palestinians for a government. It believes there is need to rebuild security forces and come together as a cohesive force in dealing with the Israel government. There apparently may be a new opening that will assist a united Palestinian government since the Israel government is finally considering the 2002 Saudi Arabian proposal for peace on the basis of restoring 1967 boundaries. The Egyptian proposal calls for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian unity government.

The Egyptians are asking both sides to agree that whatever agreement is reached between Abbas and the Israel government should be accepted by Hamas. At this point, any agreement reached in the coming months would most probably be based on the Saudi proposal, one that is supported by President Abbas. Now, is time for Hamas to accept the reality of Israel as a state and work with other Arab nations to finally achieve peace in the Middle East.

Fatah And Hamas Debate Meeting To Debate

The Egyptian government over the past several weeks has been attempting to bring together the Fatah and Hamas factions in order to present a united front to Israel. Both sides agreed to a meeting that would be led by Egyptian mediators and would include a wide variety of people from various view points. Hamas leaders asked Fatah to hold a bilateral meeting but the request was rejected. Originally, President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has refused to hold any meetings with Hamas until that group ends its control over Gaza. Senior Fatah official, Azzam al-Ahmad, said: “There is no need for bilateral meetings now. We prefer the meetings to be comprehensive and for Egypt to pursue its consultations with the factions.”

It is probably wise to have Egyptian mediators present at any meeting given the open hostility between Hamas and Fatah. Hopefully, the issue of Gaza can be resolved and a Palestinian united group meet with Israel leaders.

Hamas Indicates Ready To Accept Egyptian Proposal

High level Hamas officials indicated they were prepared to give serious consideration to an Egyptian proposal which seeks to end the division among Palestinians leaders. The Hamas delegation represented individuals from Syria and Gaza as well as other regions, and they discussed issues with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Khalil al-Haya, a Gaza based member, said, “We in Hamas accept that elections are on the table for discussion. Fatah, which is headed by President Abbas, has been pushing for simultaneous elections on the West Bank as well as in Gaza. The Hamas representatives also agreed it was time for both their organization and Fatah to finally sit down and resolve their differences.

At the heart of any Hamas-Fatah agreement is the need for Hamas to agree that Israel is a viable nation and it is time to accept that reality. A united Palestinian government would be a powerful group to negotiate an agreement with Israel because even moderate Israelis will not trust Hamas until it publicly abandons it view that Israel must be destroyed.

Fatah Agrees To Compromise With Hamas

A senior negotiator for the Palestine Authority indicated that Fatah was no longer insisting its rival Hamas must abandon control over Gaza as a price for reconciliation. Nabil Shaath, head of a Fatah delegation in Cairo for talks with Egyptian mediators said President Abbas was taking a more flexible position on the issue of who controls Gaza. “We are not asking for this(the reversal of the Hamas coup in Gaza). We are not asking anybody to apologize. We are not asking to go back to where we were. We want to go forward, not backward.”

Perhaps, President Abbas is moving toward agreeing with the Egyptian proposal for a ‘national consensus” government as the best way to engage with Israel discussions. The Egyptian proposal would integrate all armed forces into one body. However, there has yet to be confirmation from the Abbas headquarters that he agrees with such proposals for reconciliation.

Palestinian Authority Acting Authoritarian

The Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority is carrying out a vigorous campaign against members of Hamas and anyone who does not support the government of President Abbas. According to Al Ahram, hundreds of schoolteachers, college students, journalists and other professionals have been arrested and imprisoned on vague charges such as “constituting a threat to state security.” Al Ahram sources insist “in villages and cities throughout the West Bank, PA security agencies raided Islamic-oriented cultural and academic centres, non-governmental organizations, sports clubs as well as schools and charitable organizations, closing them down and arresting members.” A particular target are journalists who are critical of the Abbas government failure to respect human rights.

There is little question Fatah leaders fear a repeat of the successful Hamas takeover of Gaza and intend to thwart that possibility by arresting Hamas leaders and supporters. Although there is scant evidence Hamas is actually a threat in the West Bank, the government is determined to avoid such an outcome in the future. On the political front, Fatah has been able to secure the support of the Egyptian government which carries out the Abbas policy of refusing to allow Hamas to obtain credit for any aid to the Gaza blockace.

In the midst of Palestinian internal conflict, talks with Israel are at a standstill. If nothing happens to end the logjam between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Palestinians may decide to end their goal of a two state solution and become part of Israel. Such an outcome would frighten most Israelis.

Palestinians Fight One Another Creating Chaos In Region

The history of Palestinian efforts to achieve peace with Israel has continually been hampered by a lack of coordination and cooperation among Palestinian factions. Last year, Hamas took over control of the Gaza Strip and ousted Fatah leaders from power. Hamas has been governing an area in which there still remain angry and bitter members of Fatah. Over the weekend, after a bombing killed five Hamas soldiers, Hamas launched an attack on Fatah leaders which resulted in 180 fleeing to the protection of Israeli forces. According to Israel sources, President Abbas, who heads the Fatah led Palestinian Authority, asked that 30 of his supporters be allowed to return to Gaza. Once they stepped foot in Gaza, all thirty were arrested. Some of those wounded in the Hamas attack, insist they had no connection with the bombings and their homes were burned and they were forced to flee for their lives.

A major difficulty in reaching any sort of agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is instability between rival factions of the Arab movement. As time passes, there is increasing sectarian conflict among Arabs, and no progress towards peace with Israel.