PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation effort is an entirely Palestinian affair and no
one has the right to intervene in it, a Palestinian Authority official in
Ramallah said on Saturday.
'Hamas-Fatah unity would harm diplomatic process'
Abbas says he will meet Mashaal on Nov 23
The official, who was responding to reports
about Israeli and American opposition to efforts to achieve reconciliation
between the two rival parties, said that neither the US nor Israel had the right
“to meddle in the internal affairs of the Palestinians.”
He also denied
that the US administration had threatened to cut off financial aid to the
Palestinians because of the rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is scheduled to meet with PA President
Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, where the central topic of discussion is expected to be
Washington’s opposition to a Palestinian unity government unless Hamas first
forswear terrorism, recognize Israel and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian
Burns is expected to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu on Monday. One Israeli government source said that if the Palestinians
go through with the reconciliation deal, they will “be facing problems not only
He declined to elaborate.
Meanwhile, Hamas and Fatah
officials denied that they have agreed to move the headquarters of the next
Palestinian government from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. Senior Hamas
representative Ahmed Yusef had announced that his movement and Fatah had agreed
that the headquarters of the next government would be based in Gaza.
PA official in Ramallah said Abbas, who is expected to meet with Hamas leader
Khaled Mashaal in Cairo later this week, was determined to end the dispute
between Fatah and Hamas.
“The overwhelming majority of Palestinians want
unity,” the official told The Jerusalem Post
“President Abbas can’t go
against the wishes of the people.”
On the eve of the Abbas- Mashaal
summit, sources close to Hamas and Fatah said the two sides had agreed that
current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad would not head a new unity
Hamas’s fierce opposition to Fayyad’s nomination has
prevented the implementation of the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation accord
that was announced last May.
Until recently, Abbas and Fatah had rejected
the Hamas stance, insisting that Fayyad remain in his job after the formation of
a unity government.
Last week, Fayyad hinted that he would be prepared to
step down to facilitate the implementation of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation
Over the weekend, some Fatah representatives in Ramallah said
it was possible that Hamas would agree to having Fayyad serve as finance
minister in the proposed unity government.
In a post on his Facebook
account, Fayyad expressed discontent with the controversy over his future role
in any government.
“They are talking about me as if I had been imposed on
the Palestinian people,” Fayyad wrote. “Frankly speaking, such talk is harmful
to the Palestinians, the various factions and me personally. I don’t want to be
an obstacle hindering anything.”
Yusef, from Hamas, told the London-based
Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that Hamas and Fatah had reached agreement on a
political platform that envisaged the establishment of a Palestinian state
within the pre-1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital.
Yusef, a former
political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, claimed that in the
past Abbas insisted on Fayyad because he was worried that removing him would
disrupt his plan to apply for Palestinian membership in the UN.
Maqboul, a Fatah representative in the West Bank, denied that the new government
would be moved to the Gaza Strip. He said that this was one of the issues that
would be discussed between Abbas and Mashaal Another top Hamas official, Salah
Bardaweel, also denied that the two parties had reached agreement on moving the
government headquarters to the Gaza Strip.
In addition, he denied that
Hamas and Fatah have reached agreement on the identity of the prime minister who
would head a new unity government consisting of independent
Bardaweel warned that failure of the Abbas-Mashaal summit would
have "negative consequences” for the Palestinians, but did not
He added that despite the optimism surrounding the
Abbas-Mashaal summit, Hamas was concerned about the continued crackdown on its
supporters in the West Bank by Abbas’s security forces.
Nabil Sha’ath, a member of the Fatah central committee, voiced optimism over the
prospects of ending the dispute with Hamas.
He said that recent changes
in the Arab countries, the PA’s efforts in the international arena to achieve
recognition of a Palestinian state, and the prisoner exchange agreement between
Israel and Hamas, had all created a “positive" atmosphere for Palestinian
unity.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.