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Fatah: Hamas should overcome its leadership problem

Hamas suffers from a serious leadership problem where political decisions are confused between its Gaza and Damascus leaders

Ramallah: Hamas suffers from a serious leadership problem where political decisions are confused between its Gaza and Damascus leaders, a top Fatah official said on Monday.

Jamal Muhaisen, member of the Fatah Central Committee, told Gulf News that the Hamas team which comes from Damascus to negotiate with Fatah on Palestinian reconciliation in Cairo is different from the Gaza leadership which tries to fail whatever has been agreed upon. “We are still waiting for a Hamas reply for rejecting a Fatah visit to the Gaza Strip,” he said.

“There is a powerful group within Hamas which has its own agenda and interests manifested in ‘tunnel and arms trading.’ This group in Gaza rejects the Palestinian reconciliation,” he said.

“Hamas would have warmly welcomed Fatah officials who went on an official visit to Gaza to discuss and facilitate the implementation of the reconciliation pact on the ground had the leadership there been serious about the Palestinian unity,” he said.

Muhaisen said that the Hamas Political Bureau in Damascus knows the truth about the powerful Gaza groups which are not interested in reconciliation. “The Hamas leadership in Damascus knows the facts and is currently debating the humiliation which Fatah officials faced at the Beit Hanoun Crossing,” he said.

Fatah is also coordinating the efforts exerted to overcome the problem with various factions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with subcommittees commissioned during the Cairo meetings playing a key role in resolving the issue.

Muhaisen said that Hamas and all other factions should stick to the Cairo reconciliation pact, and dismantle the groups which aim to fail reconciliation.

Muhaisen said that the Palestinian leadership has approved and attended the Amman meetings to evaluate the Israeli attitude on issues including borders and security arrangements.

Palestinian negotiators are to meet with their Israeli counterparts on the premises of the Jordanian Foreign Ministry later Monday.

“We will get the Israeli positions on the borders and security arrangements in writing,” said Muhaisen, adding that “we have gone to Amman to find out the Israeli positions but not to negotiate,” he said.

He stressed that the peace process is at a standstill, with the US administration busy with elections. “We positively responded to the Jordanian initiative knowing well that the Israelis will not respond to any initiative,” he said. “We are pessimistic about the Amman meetings. Optimism does not have a room here at all,” he stressed.

“What the Israelis initially offer cannot be and will not be put on the Palestinian table for consideration,” he added.

Muhaisen declined to comment on the Fatah decision to ban Mohammad Dahlan from running for a seat in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections scheduled for May 4.

“The issue of Dahlan is now in the hands of the President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian judicial system,” he said.

Legal experts at the PLC told Gulf News that Fatah has the right to make its nominations for the parliament.