photo :AFP
Fighting in Gaza
photo :AFP
Hamas, Fatah declare ‘truce’
Palestinian groups pledge to end infighting that has plagued Gaza Strip in recent weeks; major Gaza factions sign document forbidding internal wars, attacks on other groups. However, terrorists say armed struggle against Israel to continue
After days of tensions and confrontations that included abductions and shootouts that left Palestinians on both sides dead or wounded, senior Hamas and Fatah figures met in Gaza Saturday in a bid to resolve the ongoing dispute.


During the session, the representatives agreed to maintain open channels of communication. The sides discussed recent tensions and decided that disagreements between the two organizations must be resolved through dialogue and not through an armed struggle.


Following the meeting, which came on the heels of mutual mudslinging, the sides said their strategic position stresses resistance to any internal war among Palestinian groups.


In addition to the talks, several Palestinian organizations signed Saturday a document aiming to prevent bloodshed and internal conflicts.

Representatives of all major armed factions signed the memorandum, which stipulated that internal wars and attacks on other groups are strictly forbidden.


The groups made it clear that they are still committed to the strategy of an armed struggle against Israel, but also to the relative lull in violence, as long as it is mutual. The organizations also expressed their objection to any attempts to disarm them and said such move would constitute a free gift to the enemy.


However, the groups said there would not be any fighting or incitement within the Palestinian arena, referring to one another as “blood brothers.”


Meanwhile, the groups called on the Palestinian Authority to continue with its reforms, the struggle against corruption, and the strengthening of political cooperation between all Palestinian groups.


3 Palestinians killed in infighting


The factions that signed the document included the armed wings of Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and several other groups that operate in the Gaza Strip.


The intensive negotiations in the PA followed a week in which three Palestinians, including a policeman, were killed in fighting between Hamas on one hand and Fatah and PA officers on the other. These incidents were accompanied by a series of kidnappings of Hamas activists and of PA officers.


In light of this deterioration, the PA's Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Security has elevated the security alert level in the Strip.


Meanwhile, it is estimated that in the coming months Egypt will accelerate its negotiations with the factions, with the aim of bringing them together for another round of talks in Cairo. The talks' objective will be to extend the agreements regarding the state of calm in Gaza, and to strengthen the political cooperation in the Authority, ahead of the coming January general elections.


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