Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad (L) and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh..
The rival Palestinian parties Hamas and Fatah will meet in the Gulf state of Qatar in the near future to make another attempt at reconciliation, a Palestinian official said on Saturday.
“There is ongoing communication with Hamas to arrange a dialogue in the near future,” Azzam Al-Ahmad told Al-Ghad, a Jordanian daily newspaper, clarifying that the meeting will happen after “Qatar sends invitations to the two movements.”
Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since the former took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 in an armed coup, ousting the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority from the coastal enclave.
Despite reaching a number of reconciliation agreements, the parties have failed to end the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the de facto formation of two Palestinian governments, a Fatah-dominated government in the West Bank and a Hamas-controlled government in Gaza.
Ahmad said that the upcoming talks will be a continuation of a dialogue Qatar hosted last June which ended with no agreement.
“The meeting will seek to complete the talks that were halted last June... to reach an agreement to form a national unity government,” Ahmad said.
Hamas and Fatah officials met twice over the past month in Beirut and Moscow, where they reportedly agreed on the “necessity” of forming such a government.
Following the Moscow meeting, both parties announced that they would turn to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to start consultations about forming a unity government, but just under two weeks later, there are no indications that such consultations are taking place.
Munib al-Masri, a Palestinian businessman who is deeply involved in the reconciliation process, told The Jerusalem Post that he thinks there is reason to believe the forthcoming Qatar meeting will produce positive results.
“I believe that the gaps between Hamas and Fatah are narrowing and we are coming closer to ending the division,” Masri, who traveled around the West Bank last week and will head to the Gaza Strip this week to promote reconciliation, stated. “We can’t move as long as there is a division and the parties are aware of that.”
However, Omar Shaaban, the director of Palthink, a research institute based in the Gaza Strip, told the Post that he is less optimistic about the upcoming Qatar meeting.
“I have no hope that a breakthrough in the reconciliation process will happen in the upcoming meeting or the near future,” Shaaban said.
For reconciliation to succeed, Shaaban said that additional meetings are not needed.
“There is no need for meetings of this nature because there have been many meetings and agreements reached in them,” Shaaban remarked. “What we need is political will from both sides to implement those agreements and end the division.”
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