The US appears to have softened its opposition to unity between Fatah and Hamas,
a top Fatah official in the West Bank said Monday.
Azzam al-Ahmed, a
member of the Fatah Central Committee and a senior adviser to Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said that US opposition to the unity idea was
Ahmed’s comments came hours after Abbas met in Ramallah
with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss American efforts to revive the
stalled peace process with Israel.
Ahmed said that Abbas would meet with
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha, Qatar, later this week to discuss the
formation of a Palestinian unity government.
Abbas arrived in Doha on
Monday to participate in an Arab League meeting on the peace process.
Fatah official said he would head to Cairo on Tuesday to meet with Hamas senior
official Musa Abu Marzouk to prepare for the Abbas-Mashaal summit.
has strongly opposed Abbas’s attempts to join forces with Hamas unless the
Islamist movement recognized Israel’s right to exist and renounced
Abbas’s renewed attempts to achieve unity with Hamas came amid
reports that PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was planning to submit his
resignation to the PA president.
In a surprise move, Fayyad met on Monday
in Jerusalem with Kerry. It’s not clear why the two chose to meet in Jerusalem
and not in Ramallah.
Sources in Ramallah said that Fayyad was expected to
quit or face being sacked by Abbas after months of escalating tension between
the two men.
Tensions peaked recently when Fayyad accepted the
of his finance minister, Nabil Qassis, despite Abbas’s
Abbas is also reported to have been enraged over the fact
that US President Barack Obama, who visited Ramallah last month, met separately
Last week, Fatah leaders meeting in Ramallah urged Abbas to
Some accused Fayyad of seeking to undermine Abbas’s
authority with the help of the US.
Meanwhile, PA officials refused Monday
to talk about the Abbas-Kerry meeting, which took place in Ramallah on Sunday
Abbas and Kerry agreed during the meeting that the two parties
would refrain from publicly commenting on the outcome of their
One official, however, confirmed that Abbas had asked that
parts of Area C in the West Bank be transferred to PA control to pave the way
for the resumption of the peace talks with Israel.
The official also said
that Abbas’s main goal now was to secure the release of a significant number of
Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
Asked whether the US had given
the PA a green light to form a unity government with Hamas, the official said:
“Palestinian unity is an internal issue and interest and we won’t allow any
party to meddle in our internal affairs.