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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Hamas/Fatah "unity" problems

Ma'an reports:

A senior Hamas official has told Ma'an that ongoing talks to implement the party's reconciliation agreement with Fatah are undermined by low confidence between the factions.

Both parties want to achieve national unity but the reconciliation deal, signed in Cairo last May, is plagued by a lack of trust, the Hamas official told Ma'an on Monday on condition of anonymity.

The deal aimed to end four years of divided government by forming a joint administration that would pave the way for elections. When the parties failed to agree on a candidate to lead the unity cabinet, they decided to proceed to elections without joining the governments.

The Hamas leader told Ma'an the failure to form a joint administration has made implementing terms of the agreement difficult.

A united government would have been a turning point in the division, the Hamas official said.

Talks between the parties and the work of the reconciliation committees are mismanaged and lack follow-up, the Hamas official told Ma'an.

The official said Hamas would not offer a candidate for the presidential elections because of the ongoing occupation, the situation in the West Bank and the party's tense relations with the international community.

Despite the recent success of Islamist parties in some Arab countries, the situation is different in Palestine and Hamas is not in a position to run in presidential elections, he said. He said Hamas and Fatah would agree on a candidate for the presidency.

Asked about upcoming internal elections in the Hamas movement, the official said politburo chief Khalid Mashaal would step down and probably be replaced by his deputy Mousa Abu Marzouq.

Mashaal cannot run again to head the politburo as he has served the party's limit of two terms in office.

In other news, the Palestinian Authority strongly criticized Ismail Haniyeh's statements yesterday that the Hamas security apparatus in Gaza would remain in place even after "unity" is achieved. The PA says that there are only three security organizations - National Security, Homeland Security and General Intelligence - and there would not be any more.

Also, Fatah accused Hamas of attempting to take over the entire territory not through elections but by bidding to control the PLO, which would make elections moot since the PA reports to the PLO.

Meanwhile, Hamas released a list of its members arrested in the West Bank by the PA, even after the "unity" discussions started. Political arrests was one of the major areas that were supposed to be solved between the two parties months ago.

Although I cannot find the link now, yesterday Hamas also denied that the PA had fixed the passport situation, one of the easiest problems to be solved over the past eight months of "unity."

The Western media is still clueless about all of these issues that I have been documenting daily.

The next milestone was supposed to be the announcement of a temporary unified government in the next two weeks; I have not read anything about that lately.