fatah and hamas

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Could the latest strike on Gaza lead to a new unity between the Palestinian factions? This is surely NOT what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was intending!

Keeping the Palestinians divided, and only dialoguing with the ‘leader’ who no longer has any democratic mandate (ie. Abbas) seems to have been the heart of his government’s policy since he came to power! Perhaps Mr Netanyahu did not foresee that this latest round of violence might unite the different Palestinian factions against their common oppressor?

I’m not sure. Netanyahu is no fool, and if he really wanted to keep the factions divided, why did he immediately follow-up the ceasefire on Gaza with a series of new arrests across the West Bank – a move that almost seems designed to remind us that his government is at war with all Palestinians.

Certainly Al-Hayya’s claim, that “Hamas and Fatah are one hand, one rifle and one rocket,” should be a cause of deep concern to all of us who are praying for a peaceful end to the Occupation. Even so, as all efforts at negotiation continue to prove fruitless, how long can we expect the Palestinian people not to strike back?

My hope is that the Palestinian factions will unite around Mr Abbas’ UN bid. That route certainly holds out the possibility of a peaceful transition to a new Israel/Palestine. All the other options are looking increasingly bleak!

Father Dave

Fatah, Hamas urge unity at Gaza rallies

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — In a rare display of unity, leaders of Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions on Thursday celebrated the end of the war on Gaza and called for parties to end the split with the West Bank.

Thousands took to the streets of Gaza in joint political rallies marking an end to eight days of deadly fighting, and Fatah supporters marched calling for their faction to end its rivalry with Gaza rulers Hamas.

Fatah leader Nabil Shaath, who came to Gaza on Sunday during the Israeli shelling, told crowds in Gaza City that Israel had failed to isolate them from the West Bank.

“How glad I feel when yellow, green, red and black flags fly together, united by the Palestinian flag. We must all unite and work together,” he said, referring to the motifs of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and leftist factions.

“Today our unity materialised, Hamas and Fatah are one hand, one rifle and one rocket,” senior Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya told several thousand people in the main square of Gaza.

Islamic Jihad leader Muhammad al-Hindi said factions should unify behind the resistance movement, hinting at the enduring divisions with Fatah, who espouse non-violent and diplomatic measures against Israel’s occupation.

“We have reached a dead end in the peace process and now we are in the trenches of jihad and resistance,” he told the Gaza City rally.

But the Jihad leader too echoed the conciliatory note of the occasion. “Nothing will strengthen the determination of Palestinians more than the Palestinian people themselves, with all of their factions,” al-Hindi said.

UN bid

Hamas’s Gaza chief and prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, called Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas to brief him on the situation, the official news agency of Abbas’ government said Thursday.

Al-Hindi and Hamas deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament also called Abbas, Wafa reported.

Wafa said all three confirmed their support the president’s bid for Palestinian status as a non-member state at the UN, due for a vote next week.

Haniyeh’s pledge of support for the bid was quickly refuted by Gaza government spokesman Taher al-Nunu, describing Wafa’s report as “completely untrue.”

Haniyeh’s office said Abbas called the premier and “congratulated him on the victory and extend condolences to the families of martyrs.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa al-Barghouthi, who also came to Gaza during the Israeli bombardment, held a meeting of national and Islamic factions in Gaza City on Thursday.

The meeting, also attended by the head of the Palestinian Arab Front Jamil Shahareh, stressed the importance of completing the “Gaza’s victory” by finally realizing the stalled reconciliation deal.

Reconciliation ‘most important step’ for UN

The Fatah movement held rallies across the Gaza Strip, including a march by mayors and Fatah personalities in Gaza City.

“All Palestinians should be united in order to fight the Israeli occupation,” senior Fatah official Yahya Rabah told Ma’an.

Amal Hamad, a member of the Fatah central committee, said implementing national reconciliation was the most important step for the success of the UN bid.

The Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal between his faction and Hamas has repeatedly stalled, after they violently split Palestine into separate governments in 2007.

Fatah MP Faysal Abu Shahla called on Egyptian authorities to hold a meeting for all Palestinian factions to end the division at Thursday’s rally.

Israel agreed a truce deal with Hamas and other Gaza factions on Wednesday with Egyptian mediation.

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Father Roy writes: Israel is “stepping up its demand”.  The highlights in this report are mine.   Peace, Roy

Foreign Ministry says int’l community must clarify to PA it will not deal with Palestinian gov’t that includes unreformed Hamas.

By HERB KEINON 02/09/2012 23:15

Abbas, Qatar's al-Thani, and Mashaal

By Reuters

Amid continuing uncertainty regarding what the Doha agreement between Fatah and Hamas actually means, Israel is stepping up its demand that the international community not accept an unreformed Hamas as part of the Palestinian Authority government.

“The international community can play a role in promoting peace,” the Foreign Ministry wrote in a paper circulated Thursday on the Hamas- Fatah deal. “It must stand by the Quartet’s three principles. By clarifying to the Palestinian Authority that impenitent terrorist organizations cannot be partners with those seeking peace, the world will be telling the Palestinians that terrorism will not be tolerated or rewarded.”

The Quartet established three criteria for engaging with Hamas: that it give up terrorism, recognize Israel and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

The agreement signed Monday in Doha calls for the establishment of an interim unity agreement, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas replacing Salam Fayyad as the PA’s prime minister.

Many, however, are skeptical the agreement will be implemented.

According to diplomatic officials, Israel has made clear to the international community that a package of largely economic incentives to entice the Palestinians back to talks that started last month in Jordan will be taken off the table if the Hamas-Fatah deal is consummated.

“Israel is not going to come with any confidence-building measures if this agreement is implemented,” one diplomatic official said. A sign of its implementation, he added, would be Fayyad’s replacement.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meeting in New York Thursday with the UN ambassadors from 15 countries, said Israel would not accept a Palestinian government with Hamas as a member if it did not accept the international community’s three criteria. He said the Doha agreement contributed neither to the promotion of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations nor to Palestinian interests, and only served the personal interests of the two men who had signed it: Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Mashaal.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that the PA has to choose: peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.

Jerusalem’s position on the Hamas- Fatah agreement, as presented in the foreign ministry paper, is that Hamas is an unrepentant terrorist organization, supported by Iran and dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

Mashaal made his position clear after signing the agreement, the paper said, adding that the deal would create greater unity “in order to be free for confronting the enemy.”

The paper asserted that the reconciliation of the main Palestinian factions could have meant that Hamas adopted Fatah’s line and would be willing to engage in negotiations with Israel. Instead, “it now seems that Fatah, the main component of the Palestinian Authority, is the one rallying behind Hamas’s extremist views.”

In addition to waiting to see whether this deal will be implemented, diplomatic officials were also waiting for a Palestinian decision on whether to continue with the preliminary talks in Jordan. The Palestinians have come under considerable pressure from the US and EU to do so, and Quartet envoy Tony Blair is continuing to consult intensively with Israeli and Palestinian officials, as well as other leaders in the region, to put together a package that would lead to a continuation of the Jordan talks.

An Arab league meeting to discuss whether Abbas should return to these talks is scheduled for the coming week. That meeting has already been postponed twice since the last Israeli- Palestinian meeting in Jordan on January 25.

Original post: Israel urges world to reject Pale… JPost – Diplomacy & Politics