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Friday, November 2, 2007

A specter is haunting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

A specter is haunting the Annapolis peace talks. It is the specter of reunification of Hamas and Fatah. It seems that the road to reunification is not closed - based on several reports:

Bethlehem - Ma'an - A number of Hamas leaders met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in his headquarters in Ramallah in the first meeting between Fatah and Hamas officials since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June.

They also met Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Al Shaer and a number of ministers.

Al Shaer said the leaders attended Friday prayers together before holding discussions, particularly concerning security issues.

He added that the meeting was a good indicator for further dialogue. He said there was definitely going to be future communications between some Palestinian leaders, but he declined to give any more details.
And from Ha'aretz we learn:
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met Hamas officials in the West Bank on Friday but reiterated he would not hold formal reconciliation talks with the Islamist group unless it gives up control of Gaza.
Hamas forces routed Abbas's secular Fatah faction in violent clashes in Gaza in June. Abbas then sacked a Hamas-led government and appointed a Fatah-backed administration in the West Bank.
"I met with Hamas officials and told them there would be no dialogue with Hamas until they reverse their coup first," Abbas told Reuters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.  
Abbas said he met Hamas lawmaker Hussein Abu Kwaik and a Hamas-backed former government minister, Naser el-Deen al-Shaer
So Abbas will not unite with Hamas until they give up Gaza and go back to the situation that was in effect before last June. At that time, Hamas controlled the entire Palestinian authority, with Mahmoud Abbas acting as figurehead. So the stage is set for Hamas to relinquish its control of Gaza in order to regain control over the Palestinian Authority. Perhaps that is the first stage of the Palestinian "roadmap." The danger is clear. All concessions that Israel will have made, will have been made in essence to the Hamas. All weapons that the US supplied to Fatah, will be controlled by the Hamas.
Ami Isseroff

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