Hamas accuses Fatah of trying to foil truce with Israel

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Fatah of instigating tensions in order to thwart the Egyptian and UN efforts to achieve a truce.

August 5, 2018 18:58
4 minute read.
Hamas officials Husam Badran (C) and Khalil al-Hayya (2nd-R) attend a meeting

Hamas officials Husam Badran (C) and Khalil al-Hayya (2nd-R) attend a meeting with Palestinian factions in Gaza City on August 5, 2018. (photo credit: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)


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Hamas said on Sunday it was “disgusted” by the stance its rivals in Fatah have taken toward Egyptian and UN efforts to end the crisis in the Gaza Strip, and charged Fatah with wanting Gaza to remain under siege and shelling.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Fatah of instigating tensions in order to thwart the Egyptian and UN efforts to achieve a truce between his movement and Israel. He said that Fatah was waging a systematic campaign of incitement against Hamas.

“Fatah needs to realize that it lost the election,” Abu Zuhri said, referring to the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council election in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “Fatah is just another faction and its leader’s term in office has expired.”

The Hamas spokesman was referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also chairman of the ruling Fatah faction. Abbas was elected in 2005, and his term in office expired in 2009.

Fatah leaders and officials have criticized Hamas's reported readiness to accept a long-term truce with Israel in return for humanitarian aid and economic projects in the Gaza Strip.  Fatah argues that such a deal would be considered a "free gift" to Israel. They also claim that the proposed truce is part of US President Donald Trump's effort to liquidate the Palestinian cause through his plan for peace in the Middle East.

“Hamas is not authorized to sign any agreement with Israel because it has no representative status,” a senior Fatah official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “The Palestinian Authority is the only legitimate party representing the Palestinians. We believe that the talk about a truce in the Gaza Strip is part of an Israeli and American scheme to pass Trump’s so-called peace plan and transform the Palestinian cause from a political issue into a humanitarian issue.”

On Sunday, senior PLO official Ahmed Majdalani warned that a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel would be seen in the context of Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East. “Any agreement with Israel should be on a national basis, and not an agreement between Hamas and Israel,” the official told the Ramallah-based PA’s Palestine TV. Hamas, he argued, does not have any status that authorizes it to strike any deal with Israel.

“HAMAS IS a political faction that seized control over the Gaza Strip through a military coup,” Majdalani said. “Hamas wants to tackle the humanitarian situation apart from the political situation. Hamas believes that the lifting of the blockade and providing international aid to our people in the Gaza Strip will strengthen its negotiating cards and enhance its presence as a de facto authority there.”

Hamas said in a statement that “Fatah’s negative demeanor and its continued irresponsible media attacks are aimed at foiling any national, Egyptian, regional and UN efforts to achieve national unity and end the suffering of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”

It said that Hamas was “seeking to end the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip, and its leadership is making tremendous efforts with all Palestinians and with our Egyptian brothers and UN officials to lift the unjust blockade on the Gaza Strip, end the sanctions imposed on its residents, and achieve unity and reconciliation.”

Hamas’s attack on Fatah came as leaders of the Islamist movement that has been ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007 held a series of meetings with representatives of other Palestinian factions on Sunday to discuss Egyptian and UN proposals for a long-term truce with Israel.

Last Thursday, four Hamas leaders living abroad entered the Gaza Strip to hold consultations with other representatives of the movement and various Palestinian factions about the latest efforts to achieve a truce with Israel and end the Hamas-Fatah rift. The four are Musa Abu Marzouk, Ezzat al-Risheq, Saleh Arouri and Hussam Badran.

Speaking at Sunday’s meeting with the Palestinian factions in Gaza City, Badran said there would be no deal on the Gaza Strip without resolving the Hamas-Fatah crisis. “The issue of war, peace, a truce and the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip requires a national decision,” he said. “We are living in a dangerous and sensitive phase. We’re talking about the ‘deal of the century,’ which is aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause.” The deal of the century refers to Trump’s unseen peace plan.

Badran said that the issue of the Gaza Strip is not one that concerns Hamas alone. “There will be no Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip or without the Gaza Strip,” he added. “We affirm that all Palestine is from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river.” Hamas’s strategic goal, he said, is that the 11-year blockade on the Gaza Strip must end.

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