Haniyeh - With open arms
Photo: Reuters
Abbas - 'He isn't ready yet'
Photo: AP

Haniyeh hails calls to renew talks with Fatah

Hamas prime minister responds to PA President Abbas' proposal to return to negotiations table, calls on Arab League to sponsor reconciliation process in similar manner to resolution of Lebanese crisis

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh welcomed on Thursday evening the call of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew dialogue between their warring factions.


"We welcome the call by president Abbas to hold a national dialogue and the new positive spirit in his speech, and we state that our hand reaches out for national unity," said Haniyeh, adding that the talks must not be based on a principle of victorious and defeated.


Speaking at an event marking 41 years since the Six Day War, Abbas extended a hand towards Hamas, urging it to go back on its military coup last year that ended in the collapse of Fatah's rule over the Gaza Strip.


"We call for the immediate launch of a national dialogue based on the Yemen initiative," said Haniyeh, referring to a plan that foresees a return to the situation in the Gaza prior to the Hamas takeover.


He said Hamas was ready to be flexible to ensure that the dialogue succeeds, and he asked Fatah to do the same.


"We urge the Arab League to sponsor this dialogue and reconciliation, as it did with our Lebanese brothers," Haniyeh said, adding that both sides should be making trust-building overtures such as ceasing mutual propaganda efforts and releasing Hamas prisoners being held in the West Bank.


The Hamas leader accused the United States of being responsible for the internal Palestinian strife and claimed Washington was purposely placing obstacles in the path of reconciliation. Haniyeh said America's policy is based on "supporting the Zionists" at the expense of the Palestinian's plight and as proof of this, pointed to US President George W. Bush's recent speech at the Knesset and the rhetoric of American presidential hopefuls – the Senators John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – all of whom have recently delivered strongly-worded speeches before AIPAC officials.


'Situation in Gaza irreversible'

However a Palestinian official in Gaza told Ynet that despite the messages exchanged between the two parties and seemingly positive tones, the negotiations have little chance of succeeding.


"It's possible that both sides will go to Cairo or Qatar or wherever, but the facts on the ground, particularly in Gaza, are of a situation that is irreversible. Hamas has built its own country in the Gaza Strip, and it is unlikely that it will just hand the keys over to the Palestinian Authority without anything in exchange," he said.


"There's no chance that Hamas will let armed Fatah men to move freely in Gaza. For that to happen you would need a total reform of the entire Palestinian political system, one that would mean a full partnership

between Hamas the PLO. That is a dramatic development that Abbas isn't ready for."


The source further said that even if Abbas were to allow Hamas, which enjoys a crushing parliamentary majority, to form the government – "it is likely that the Rais (Abbas) means a government of experts and independents, which will only making finding solutions to the deep-running disagreements much harder."


AFP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.05.08, 23:43
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