Mashaal with Abbas 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is planning to visit the Gaza Strip together with
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the London- based Al-Hayat daily
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However, Hamas and PA officials said they did not know
anything about the planned visit.
Mashaal not to seek reelection as Hamas chief
The paper did not say when the visit
would take place. Quoting informed Palestinian sources, the paper said
that Mashaal was determined to visit the Gaza Strip at an appropriate time. If
and when it takes place, the visit would be the first of its kind to the
Mashaal, who was born in Silwad near Ramallah in
1956, has lived since 1967 in Jordan, Kuwait and Syria.
to visit the Gaza Strip together with Abbas and not alone,” the sources told the
pan-Arab daily. “He wishes to demonstrate, through the visit, the need for
serious efforts to end the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.”
weekend, Hamas confirmed that Mashaal won’t seek reelection as head of the
movement’s political bureau.
Mashaal has been in the job since
Mashaal’s decision not to seek reelection is seen as part of the
power struggle that has been raging in recent months between the movement’s
leadership in Syria and those based in the Gaza Strip.
Sources close to
Hamas said that Mashaal’s efforts to achieve reconciliation with Fatah have
enraged the movement’s leaders in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leaders in the
Gaza Strip are also opposed to Mashaal’s call for abandoning the armed struggle
against Israel in favor of popular and peaceful protests.
a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said that while his movement welcomed any
plan by Mashaal and Abbas to visit the Strip, it would be better if it took
place after the reconciliation between the two parties is
“Hamas is keen on making the reconciliation process succeed and
ending the division in the Palestinian arena,” Radwan said. “We hope the
reconciliation will be achieved in the near future so that the visit could take
In Ramallah, a senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post
that it was “premature” to talk about a visit by Abbas to the Gaza
“President Abbas will visit the Gaza Strip only after Hamas honors
the understandings reached between the two sides during the meetings in Egypt
and the Gaza Strip,” the official said. “For now, it appears that Hamas leaders
in the Gaza Strip are not interested in ending the split.”