Mashaal with Abbas 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
In a rare show of unity, Hamas and Fatah supporters demonstrated in Nablus on
Thursday to demand that the two parties end their differences and form a
Palestinian unity government.
The demonstration was held under the motto
“The People Want An End to Division.”
Organizers said that Thursday’s
protest marked the launch of a large-scale popular campaign to pressure Fatah
and Hamas to set their differences aside and implement the recent Qatar-brokered
reconciliation deal between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.
The two sides have failed to implement the
agreement, which calls for the formation of a Palestinian unity government
headed by Abbas, mainly due to sharp differences within the Hamas
Several Hamas leaders have voiced their opposition to Abbas’s
appointment as prime minister, claiming that Mashaal had failed to consult with
them before reaching the deal.
Nasser Eddin Shaer, a top Hamas
representative in the West Bank who participated in the Nablus protest, said
that a majority of Palestinians wants to see Fatah and Hamas implement the
Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee
who also took part in the event, said that the “whole Palestinian project was at
risk because of the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” Zaki said that
Israel was exploiting the dispute between Hamas and Fatah to “Judaize Jerusalem,
build settlements and besiege the Gaza Strip.”
In a related development,
Hamas denied on Thursday that its representatives were planning to hold unity
talks with Fatah in the coming days.
Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said
that there was “nothing new” regarding the implementation of the Qatar-brokered
deal. He admitted that the two sides have failed to implement all the
understandings they reached in the past few months. “The ball is now in Abbas’s
court,” he said.