There are ongoing efforts to arrange a meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Fatah official said on Friday.Abbas and Haniyeh last met in October 2016, in Doha, Qatar.“We are actually working on arranging” such a meeting, Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad told the Lebanese television channel Al-Mayadeen, adding that a time and place for a face-to-face encounter between the leaders had yet to be set.
Abbas’s and Haniyeh’s respective parties, Fatah and Hamas, signed an agreement in mid-October to advance Palestinian reconciliation and restore the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority’s control over the Gaza Strip. However, the rival parties have largely failed to implement the agreement, fighting over interpretations of its details. Hamas has controlled Gaza since ousting Fatah from the territory in 2007.One of the most contested issues between the parties is the future of security in Gaza. Fatah has demanded that all weapons be in the PA’s hands, while Hamas has said its armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, and other armed groups will not cede control over their arms.In his interview with Al-Mayadeen, Ahmad also said that the Arab world is “in a state of hesitation” following President Donald Trump’s changes to US policy on Jerusalem.On December 6, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated a process to relocate the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city, breaking with decades of American policy. Nonetheless, the US president said the final status of Jerusalem would be up to Israel and the Palestinians to decide.Ahmad said, however, that Arab states would have no choice but to stand with the Palestinian leadership in confronting Trump’s decision.He did not clearly explain why Arab states have to support the Palestinian leadership’s position, but suggested that the Arab street would not allow their governments to neglect the issue of Jerusalem.Protests in the Arab world against Trump’s moves on Jerusalem have been relatively small compared to what many politicians and experts predicted.
Palestinian rivals Fatah, Hamas sign reconciliation accord, October 12 2017.