(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Palestinian Authority has decided to resume efforts to end the crisis with
Hamas, a senior PA official in Ramallah said on Wednesday.
Hamas negotiators had been scheduled to meet in Damascus on Wednesday for talks
aimed at achieving “national unity,” the official told The Jerusalem Post.
However, the meeting was called off following a heated exchange between PA
President Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian President Bashar Assad during the recent Arab
summit in Libya, the official said.
Hamas armed wing threatens to target PA officials
Hamas leader says reconciliation with Fatah on the way
According to the official, Assad
reprimanded Abbas during the summit and demanded that he halt peace talks with
Israel. In addition, the Syrian president reportedly accused Abbas and the Arab
League foreign ministers of succumbing to US and Israeli pressure.
Syrians offended us,” the PA official, Nabil Sha’ath, explained. “We can’t send
our representatives to Damascus in light of what happened in
Sha’ath was quoted by the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency as
saying “We are ready to go anywhere in the world to meet Hamas except for Syria.
We have proposed Beirut, Istanbul and Sana’a as possible venues. I personally
prefer Yemen because of its government’s positive attitude toward reconciliation
between Hamas and Fatah.”
Sha’ath denied that the PA leadership was
facing pressure from both Israel and the US not to strike a deal with Hamas.
“Let Hamas choose any place it wants and we will go there, even if it’s in
Zimbabwe,” he contended.
In the context of his efforts to end the rift
with Hamas, Abbas’s office announced he has decided to dispatch two top Fatah
officials, Abdullah al-Ifranji and Rouhi Fattouh, to the Gaza Strip for talks
with leaders of the Islamist movement and other Palestinian factions on ways of
ending the dispute and forming a unity government.
Hamas legislator Salah
Bardaweel said that Fatah rejected a proposal to hold a meeting in the Gaza
Strip “after being threatened by the Americans.”
He expressed his party’s
readiness to meet with Fatah representatives in any other location.
also pointed out that the Egyptians refused to host the two rival Palestinian
factions for another round of reconciliation talks.
“The Egyptians told
Hamas and Fatah to go and talk somewhere else, and to come to Cairo only when
they are ready to sign an agreement,” claimed Bardaweel.