|Photo by: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman|
Palestinian reconciliation deal faltering
Fatah Central Committe says it will "re-evaluate" reconciliation pact following Hamas snub.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement said on
Sunday it would have to re-evaluate its reconciliation pact with the
Islamist Hamas group following the rejection of a Fatah visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip last week.
a statement, Fatah's Central Committee said Hamas' behavior showed it
was not interested in the implementation of the reconciliation agreement
signed in Cairo last year, which included the formation of a unity
government and the holding of a parliamentary election on May 4.
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between the two Palestinian factions contrasts with the positive
atmosphere stressed by both sides in December, when Abbas and Hamas
chief Khaled Mashaal met in Cairo and agreed on steps to end hostility.
said three of its senior officials had been stopped by Hamas security
officers at the entrance to the Israeli-blockaded territory on Friday
and had been forced to turn back.
The action by Hamas officers was "inadequate and humiliating," Fatah said in a statement.
in turn accused Fatah of reneging on the Egyptian-brokered deal to end
four years of bitter rivalry that has split the Palestinian national
It said Abbas was putting peace talks with Israel, taking place in Jordan,
ahead of Palestinian unity. Negotiators are searching for a way to
revive direct negotiations that have been suspended for over a year.
"If Fatah has made a decision to backtrack from reconciliation in favor
of returning to negotiation with the Zionist enemy, they should bear
full responsibility for the consequences of such a decision before the
Palestinian people, and the Egyptian mediator," Hamas said in a
While Fatah recognizes Israel and is ready to negotiate a peace deal,
Hamas refuses to do so. That has drawn a warning from the Jewish state
that any pact between the Palestinian groups would scupper peace
Hamas forces seized control of Gaza in 2007 after a brief civil war
which killed hundreds of Gazans, many of them from the two factions.
Political divisions between them have weakened Palestinian aspirations
to create an independent state.
The Hamas interior ministry denied it had made a decision to ban visits
by Fatah officials and accused Abbas's movement of "exaggerating what
happened" as a pretext for getting out of its reconciliation
It pointed out that senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath had been in Gaza for several days without facing restrictions.
It also accused one of Abbas' envoys, Sakher Bseisso, of "cursing God"
when asked by a Hamas officer to wait until he contacted his commanders.
Hamas said Bseisso would have to face a judge on the blasphemy charge if he visited Gaza in future.