Hamas, Fatah supporters unite for reconciliation

Nablus demonstration marks launch of a large-scale campaign to exert pressure on the two parties to end division.

Mashaal with Abbas 311 R (photo credit: Reuters)
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 leadership.
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 reconciliation pact.
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.