Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan made a surprising statement Wednesday evening, calling on Hamas to join forces and defend the Muslim holy sites against Israel's policy. He spoke on the backdrop of Tuesday's riots in east Jerusalem and the stalemate in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Dahlan, a member of Fatah's Central Committee who is considered a bitter enemy of the organization controlling Gaza, urged Hamas to become part of a pan-Palestinian national conference which would form a joint policy to defend the holy sites.
"I truly hope that Hamas will surprise us and join a collective battle, rather than settle for calling on the Palestinians to prepare for an intifada in the West Bank," he said.
He also expressed his hope that Hamas would "favor the interests of the Palestinian people and properly diagnose the seriousness of the situation in light of the attack on Jerusalem, by signing the Egyptian reconciliation document."
'Day of rage' in Jerusalem (Photo: Reuters)
Dahlan went on to say that he expects the American administration to force Israel to honor its commitments. "There are examples in history which have proved the United States' ability to pressure Israel, as it did during the first Gulf War when the Americans pressed (Prime Minister Yitzhak) Shamir not to respond to Iraqi missiles fired at Israel."
The Fatah strongman also claimed that "from a professional aspect," the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have reached their end – after "we negotiated on everything and got down to details, but did not reach a result due to a lack of seriousness which would commit Israel to agree to the two-state solution within the 1967 borders."
Dahlan expressed his firm objection recently to the Arab League's approval of indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians. He hinted that Fatah did not rule out discussing different diplomatic solutions other than the two-state solution.
"Our movement is still committed to the two-state solution, but all options are on the table," he said. "If the international community fails to impose this solution on Israel, the one-state solution may become the issue on the agenda. We will not wait for the two states forever, and the one-state solution may be the next issue discussed. The third option is continuing the occupation – and we fully reject this option."