Fatah activists arrive in Gaza 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Monday called on Fatah to join his movement in the
fight against Israel and to stop wasting time and effort with the peace
Zahar’s call came as Hamas and Fatah representatives stepped up
their efforts to end their differences and achieve “national
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
told reporters in Ramallah that his top priority now was to end the rivalry with
Hamas, and said he saw no reason why the two sides could not reach an agreement
on holding presidential and parliamentary elections.
Speaking at a rally
for Hamas supporters in Gaza City, Zahar said, “Our hands are extended to Fatah
to join the program of [armed] resistance and the liberation of
Addressing Fatah, he added, “Come and join the program of
resistance and stop wasting your time and effort. Let’s join hands and carry the
Zahar said that Fatah members who wish to join the
“bandwagon of the triumphant, celebrate with us and become our partners are
He claimed that the West was now displaying an understanding of
Hamas’s armed resistance strategy.
“They no longer see our people as
terrorists and murderers who have no respect for women and children and who only
love blood,” Zahar said. “Westerners came to the Gaza Strip and saw that we are
among the most civilized people.”
Following last week’s UN General
in favor of granting the Palestinians the status of non-member
observer state, Hamas and Fatah leaders pledged to work hard to end the split
between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
As a goodwill gesture, the Hamas
government has allowed 17 Fatah activists who fled the Gaza Strip to Egypt five
years ago to return to their homes.
The activists fled during the
fighting that erupted between Fatah and Hamas and resulted in the Islamist
movement’s takeover of the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas-run Interior Ministry
said that the decision was aimed at paving the way for the creation of a
positive atmosphere for achieving reconciliation and ending divisions between
the two rival parties.
On Monday, only 12 of the Fatah activists returned
to the Gaza Strip.
Nabil Sha’ath, a member of the Fatah Central
Committee, expressed optimism regarding the prospects of achieving unity with
Hamas. He said that the Palestinian Authority had released a number of Hamas
members from its prisons in the West Bank.
The PA has also decided to
reopen Hamas institutions in the West Bank that had been closed for security
reasons, Sha’ath said.
He said that the PA leadership was prepared for
“full partnership” with Hamas in any political move in the future, and added
that the two sides would meet in Cairo soon to discuss ending their
Sha’ath said that Fatah and Hamas leaders have voiced
satisfaction over the participation of their followers in joint celebrations and
rallies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past two weeks.
Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef said that Fatah and Hamas were now
waiting for an invitation from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to hold
reconciliation talks in Cairo.
The Egyptians, he noted, have been
exerting heavy pressure on the two parties to end their differences and form a
Palestinian unity government.
Despite the apparent rapprochement between
the two parties, Hamas said on Monday that the PA security forces have arrested
two of its supporters in the West Bank.
Several other Hamas supporters
have also been summoned for interrogation by the PA security forces in the past
few days, the terrorist organization said.
A Hamas source said that the
PA General Intelligence Service arrested Saleh Amer, who comes from the village
of Kufr Qalil near Nablus. In Ramallah, PA security officers arrested Amjad
Hussein, a resident of the village of Der Qadees.
Ra’fat Naseef, a senior
Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, warned the PA leadership against arresting
supporters of the terrorist movement. He said that despite the “positive” talk
about reconciliation, the PA security forces were continuing to arrest and
summon Hamas supporters.
The PA’s security crackdown is an obstacle on
the way to achieving Palestinian unity, Naseef complained.