Fayyad says he's determined to end Fatah-Hamas split

Hamas says PA prime minister doesn't represent any party, has no authority to form gov't; Fayyad: Reconciliation necessary for statehood.

February 24, 2011 19:06
2 minute read.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

Salam Fayyad with kaffiyeh kafiyeh 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday that he was determined to work toward ending the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as part of his plan to establish state institutions by September.

Fayyad, who met in Ramallah with Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jean Assleborn, said he had ideas to end the crisis with Hamas and reunite the Palestinian territories through a national unity government.

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Fayyad has been entrusted by PA President Mahmoud Abbas with forming a government that would include representatives of as many factions as possible.

Hamas, however, has said that it would not join a new Fayyad government. It has also voiced opposition to the PA’s plan to hold presidential, parliamentary and local elections by September.

But Fayyad told the visiting dignitary that he believed he would be able to solve the dispute with Hamas by reaching an agreement on security arrangements in the Gaza Strip.

“A national unity government would carry out its full duties in the West Bank and Gaza and would oversee understandings [over security] on the basis of existing institutional arrangements in both areas,” Fayyad explained. “This would pave the way for gradually moving forward toward reaching agreement on all steps that achieve national unity.”

Hamas has said it would not allow PA security forces to return to the Gaza Strip.

Fayyad’s plan apparently envisions a scenario in which Hamas would be given a security role in the Gaza Strip in the context of a national unity government.

Fayyad and other PA officials have expressed readiness to travel to the Gaza Strip to try and persuade Hamas to join a new cabinet.

The PA and Hamas are under heavy pressure from Palestinians to end their dispute and sit together in a unity government.

PA negotiator Nabil Shaath said he was waiting for permission from Hamas to travel to Gaza. He said Hamas and Fatah had agreed on political issues and all points of difference.

“We must end the division and achieve unity,” he said. “There is no justification for the continued split.”

But Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri responded to the PA’s gestures by declaring that Fayyad did not have a mandate to discuss the formation of a unity government.

“Fayyad does not represent any political faction,” he said. “He was asked by Fatah to form a new cabinet, and he has no political and legal backing to do so.”

The Hamas spokesman added that Fayyad and Fatah were talking about national unity and ending divisions, while at the same continuing to arrest Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

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