PA, Hamas welcome call from Qatar to end dispute

At Arab League meeting in Doha, Qatar’s emir calls for mini-Arab summit to be held in Cairo involving two Palestinian parties.

Abbas, Qatar's al-Thani, and Mashaal_390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Abbas, Qatar's al-Thani, and Mashaal_390
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas on Tuesday welcomed Qatar’s call for holding a mini-Arab summit to discuss ending the dispute between the two rival Palestinian parties.
The call was issued by Qatar’s emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al- Thani in a speech he delivered at the Arab summit meeting in Doha.
The emir said that the mini-summit would be held in Cairo as soon as possible with the participation of representatives of the two Palestinian parties.
He said the summit, which would be attended by some Arab countries, would seek to set a timeline for implementing previous reconciliation agreements between the two sides.
The meeting would also discuss the formation of a Palestinian government consisting of independent figures and holding new presidential and parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh welcomed the Qatari initiative and expressed readiness to work with any Arab or Islamic party seeking to end the Palestinian power struggle.
Ezat al-Risheq, another Hamas official, also welcomed the emir’s call, saying his movement was prepared to attend the proposed summit in Cairo.
PA and Fatah officials said they too were prepared to resume reconciliation talks with Hamas.
“We welcome the new Qatari initiative to end Palestinian divisions,” said Yahya Rabah, a senior Fatah official in the Gaza Strip.
Amin Maqboul, a top Fatah representative in the West Bank, said that what was needed now was the implementation of previous reconciliation agreements between the two sides. He said there was no point in holding further discussions on ways of achieving reconciliation with Hamas, adding that Fatah welcomed the latest Qatari initiative.
Also on Tuesday, Qatar proposed the creation of a $1 billion Arab fund for east Jerusalem residents of Arab origin.
Al-Thani offered to contribute $250 million to the fund.
“[Jerusalem] is in serious danger, which requires of us serious action. Palestinian, Arab and Islamic rights in Jerusalem cannot be compromised. Israel must realize this,” he said.
He did not elaborate on the precise purpose of the fund and how the money would be spent.
The PA is in deep financial crisis.
On Friday, the United States promised $500m. in aid to the PA, and Israel pledged to resume transferring $100m. in monthly tax revenue it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf.
Qatar’s emir did not say if the proposed Arab fund would be channelled to the PA, whose writ does not run in east Jerusalem.
Palestinian officials are sceptical of Arab aid pledges, as few Arab countries followed through on promises last year to cover a Palestinian funding gap aggravated by Israeli sanctions.
Last year Arab donations, including $200m. from Saudi Arabia, constituted almost half the PA’s foreign aid, with the United States and European Union providing around $330m.
“As we’ve have seen many times before, unfortunately decisions in Arab summits often do not materialize on the ground,” said Ghassan Shaka, a senior member of the PLO.
“Financing is just a means, political help is the important thing,” he said. “The Arab world must convince and apply pressure so the world knows what’s required for peace.”