Photo: Yariv Katz
Back in Gaza. Abu Zaida
Photo: Yariv Katz

Rare meeting between senior Hamas, Fatah figures held in Gaza

'Childhood friends' Fathi Hamad, Sufian Abu Zaida meet in Strip in effort to stop mutual incitement between rival Palestinian factions in media

Amid the stalemate in the reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah, two of the rival groups' leaders met in Gaza on Monday.


Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sufian Abu Zaida, a member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, said the meeting with Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad focused on the need to stop the mutual incitement between Hamas and Fatah in the media.


The leaders also discussed the persecution of Fatah figures who reside in Gaza and Hamas men who live in the West Bank.


The West Bank is controlled by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, while Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 following fierce clashes with Fatah.


Abu Zaida said the meeting was possible due to the fact that he and Hamas are "childhood friends." Both men reside in the Jabalya refugee camp. According to him, some Hamas figures have expressed a strong desire to reconcile with Fatah.


Abu Zaida, a former minister in the Palestinian Authority, recently returned to Gaza after leaving three years ago following Hamas' violent takeover.


Egypt and Saudi Arabia have recently resumed their efforts to convene Hamas and Fatah representatives for reconciliation talks. Hamas has refused to sign a reconciliation treaty brokered by Cairo.


The pact calls for a joint committee of members from Hamas, Fatah and other political parties that would liaise between the internationally isolated Hamas government in Gaza and Abbas' Western-backed Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.


Hamas would also be able to supervise a joint police force in Gaza in the run-up to the June elections, something Fatah sees as cementing Hamas control there after what it calls the "coup" of June 2007.


Reuters contributed to the report 


פרסום ראשון: 04.12.10, 19:23
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