This is a significant breakthrough! According to this article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post, both Fatah and Hamas are agreed upon the need for a non-violent intifada.
In point of fact, Palestinians have been using non-violent means to pursue their goals for the greater part of their struggle, despite popular perceptions to the contrary – protests, hunger strikes, boycotts, etc. Even so, this is the first time though that both Palestinian factions have publicly agreed on this as a matter of policy.
Abbas and Mashaal agree on peaceful intifada
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
PA president says he hopes US would play larger role in peace talks, adds Washington can’t ignore UN upgrade of PA status.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at PLO meeting in West Bank, January 29, 2013. Photo: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokma
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said over the weekend that he was in favor of a peaceful and popular resistance and that he and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal have reached agreement on the need for a peaceful intifada.
The two met in Cairo during a recent conference of Islamic countries.
Speaking during an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, Abbas said that he fully supported demonstrations against the security barrier and settlements, as well as Palestinian attempts to establish outposts in the West Bank, but stressed his opposition to violent measures.
“Armed resistance is banned,” he stressed. “This is a law and it is forbidden. It is also forbidden in the Gaza Strip.”
Abbas said that even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supported his call for peaceful protests.
The PA president said that the PA security forces in the West Bank have been arresting Palestinians who smuggle weapons from Israel.
“They smuggle weapons from Israel, including M-16 rifles and explosives,” he claimed. “These weapons could destroy my country. What am I going to do with all these Israeli weapons?” Turning to the prospect of negotiations with Israel, Abbas said that he did not expect a new government to change Jerusalem’s policy toward the peace process.
Abbas said he still did not know when US President Barack Obama would visit the region.
However, Obama’s visit to the region was a “significant indication that could revive the peace process, which has been completely frozen over the past four years,” he said.
The PA president said that the US would not be able to ignore the recent UN vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians’ status to non-member state.
“America can’t say now that it does not recognize the UN vote,” Abbas said.
The Palestinians, he added, do not expect any change in the Israeli government’s policy in wake of last month’s general elections.
Abbas said that the Arab Spring has distracted attention from the Palestinian issue. Nevertheless he said, there was still a chance to achieve peace in the Middle East.
Commenting on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to entrust MK Tzipi Livni, head of The Tzipi Livni Party, with the task of negotiating with the Palestinians, Abbas said: “The question is whether he [Netanyahu] personally believes in the peace process? I hope that things have changed now. I also hope that the US will play a larger role than before.”
Abbas claimed that Netanyahu, unlike his predecessor, former prime minister Ehud Olmert, had refused over the past four years to discuss final-status issues with the Palestinians.
Abbas said he dispatched a Palestinian delegation to Washington to exchange views with US administration officials ahead of Obama’s planned visit to the region. He said the delegation would hold talks in Washington about the settlements and about Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
Abbas said the Palestinians wanted the Americans to know that these were their demands for the resumption of the peace talks with Israel
Father Roy writes: Today we witness another encouraging development in the Middle East Peace Process. His Majesty King Abdullah …. who is universally respected …. who is admired by many of us because he’s so much like his father …. is hot on the heels of Russia’s President Putin. Two spiritual athletes. We’re two steps closer to a time for rejoicing. The highlight in AP’s report is mine. Cheers, Roy
Jordan King Meets Hamas Leaders, Nod to Islamists
AMMAN, Jordan June 28, 2012 (AP)
Jordan’s king has met with top Hamas leaders aspart of an about-face effort to engage with Islamists, who have been gaining ground all over the Mideast.
The Islamic militant Hamas rules Gaza. A Royal Palace statement says King Abdullah II’s talks Thursday with seven Hamas officials, headed by exiled leader Khaled Mashaal, focused on a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
That refers to creating a Palestinian state next to Israel. Hamas ideology rejects that, aiming for an Islamic Middle East, though some more pragmatic Hamas leaders favor some form of accepting Israel.
Abdullah’s meeting with Mashaal, a Jordanian citizen, is their second since January. Mashaal was expelled in 1999 for “illicit and harmful” activities.
Islamists make up the most influential opposition in Jordan, gaining strength in recent months.