ISSN 2330-717X

Hamas Holds Summit To weigh Reconciliation Options


Hamas invited factions on Wednesday to a meeting on reconciliation, but the discussion was not well-attended.

Five factions within the PLO, including Fatah, failed to show up at the event intended to produce a counter-proposal to Salam Fayyad’s offer to join a unity government.

Mahmoud Az-Zaq, a Hamas politburo member, told Ma’an that the absence of the five factions was largely irrelevant because the purpose of the event was not to present an official position.

Hamas invited only the press, he said.

But two factions, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, confirmed their attendance at the event during which Hamas leaders made verbal proposals.

Also Wednesday, youth organizers planning unity rallies in the West Bank and Gaza on March 15 said several attempts by politicians and NGOs had been made to co-opt the popular outcry.

Palestinian political parties, NGOs, and governments in Gaza and Ramallah are “attempting to legitimize themselves by falsely stating that they are the main organizers behind this event,” organizers said in a statement.

The rally, they said, was conceived as independent of any political party or institution. We “do not welcome attempts by [political] leaders to redirect [our] efforts,” the terse statement read.

Thousands of young Palestinians are using Facebook and Twitter to galvanize protests calling for an end to the division between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank.

Many of the actions, however, were either initiated or co-opted by political parties.

At the outset of the Egyptian revolution in January, Hamas supporters in Gaza started a Facebook page calling for protests in Ramallah to oust the PA, while a Fatah group started a similar site calling on the people of Gaza to “throw off” Hamas.

On Sunday, Hamas police detained several protesters at a ’unity’ rally in Gaza.

Organizers hope to stage their biggest rally yet across the West Bank and Gaza on March 15.

Unity calls come following protest movements that have toppled dictators in the Arab world, and heaped pressure on unresponsive governments in the region.

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Launched in 2005, Ma'an News Agency (MNA) publishes news around the clock in Arabic and English, and is among the most browsed websites in the Palestinian territories, with over 3 million visits per month.

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