Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel as seen from the city of Ashkelon, Israel October 27, 2018. Picture taken with long exposure.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Several Palestinian factions have rejected a US resolution condemning Hamas for firing rockets at Israel. The United Nations General Assembly is expected to vote on Thursday on the resolution, which condemns Hamas for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence.”
The US resolution also demands that Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip stop using “airborne incendiary devices” – referring to the arson kites and balloons launched from the Hamas-ruled enclave towards Israel in recent months.
Palestinian sources said on Tuesday that Hamas and its rivals in the ruling Fatah faction have been holding consultations in the past few days, in order to thwart the US resolution. They said that representatives of the two rival Palestinian parties agreed that, if adopted, the resolution would be “harmful” not only to Hamas, but also to all Palestinian factions in particular and to the Palestinian cause in general.
The sources said that Fatah cannot support the US resolution out of fear of being accused of “colluding” with the US administration and Israel against a Palestinian group.
The PA and Fatah have voiced strong opposition to the US initiative.
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station that the Palestinian leadership was “leading a battle” at the UN to prevent the US from “criminalizing” Hamas by labeling it a terrorist group. “Hamas will remain a Palestinian movement, whether we agree or disagree with it,” Erekat said.
Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official, said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed the Palestinian envoy to the UN to work toward thwarting the US resolution. “Hamas is part of the Palestinian people, and we won’t accept any attempt to add it to the list of terror groups,” Ahmed told the Arabi 21 news website. He expressed hope that the PA’s “positive position” would prompt Hamas to end its dispute with Fatah.
Earlier this week, Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh also voiced strong opposition to the US move to condemn Hamas.
Hamas leaders have praised Fatah for its opposition to the US move. Hamas leader Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook said that the Fatah stance “reflects a national interest of a people living under occupation.”
On Monday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh phoned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and urged him to help the Palestinians to thwart the US resolution. Haniyeh told the Turkish minister that the proposed resolution was “harmful to the struggle of the Palestinians and their long history.” The Hamas leader claimed that the resolution contravened international laws and conventions that “legitimize resistance to the occupation with all methods.”
A statement issued by Haniyeh’s office quoted the Turkish foreign minister as saying that Turkey considers the US resolution to be biased in favor of Israel. Turkey will do its utmost to prevent the US resolution from being approved by the UN General Assembly, the Turkish foreign minister reportedly assured Haniyeh.
The Hamas leader has also phoned other world leaders to urge them to oppose the US resolution, the statement added, without naming specific leaders.
Another Hamas official, Izzat al-Risheq, said that his movement was waging a diplomatic campaign in the international arena to foil the US resolution. Hamas, he said, has also sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressing outrage over “continued US efforts” to support Israel.
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