Fatah meets for talks on Israel, Hamas

Senior members of Fatah, the party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, met on Wednesday to discuss issues from peace talks with Israel to reconciliation with Hamas.

By (AFP)

Published: Wed 24 Nov 2010, 6:25 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:18 AM

The representatives from Fatah’s Revolutionary Council gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah from early morning for a day of talks on domestic and international political affairs.

Abbas was during the day expected to deliver “a very important address on the developments in the political situation, the reconciliation process and the internal situation of the movement,” council member Hussein al-Sheikh told AFP. He said Fatah’s efforts to reconcile with Hamas would be discussed and would show the Islamist group was to blame for the failure to reach a deal on a government of national unity.

The bitter divisions between Fatah and Hamas go back to the start of limited Palestinian self-rule in the 1990s, when Fatah strongmen cracked down on the Islamist militant group.

Their divisions boiled over in June 2007 when Hamas — which had won a parliamentary election a year earlier — drove Abbas’s loyalists from Gaza in a week of bloody clashes, seizing control of the impoverished territory.

All attempts at reconciliation, most of them mediated by Egypt, have failed, with Fatah and Hamas accusing each other of undermining trust by persecuting political rivals in the territory under its control.

The last round took place in Damascus earlier this month, but ended without agreement, and the two sides said they would meet again after Eid al-Adha, which ended on Friday.

In a sign of the continuing divisions, the Revolutionary Council’s deputy secretary-general Sabri Saidam slammed Hamas’s decision “to stop members of the Revolutionary Council in Gaza from coming to take part in the meeting.”

In response, Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, said they would allow them to leave in return for the release of a Hamas member arrested in Nablus.

The council members would be allowed to attend “in exchange for a symbolic gesture, the release of Tamam Abu Su’ud as a positive message to our people in the context of reconciliation efforts and national dialogue,” Nunu said.

By refusing to release Abu Su’ud, “Fatah bears sole responsibility for the restriction of movement of its leaders,” he added.

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