Rafah, Asharq Al-Awsat- A Hamas delegation from Gaza is in Cairo today for talks with Egyptian Security Minister Omar Suleiman.
Delayed from Thursday the meeting is address the stabilization of the ceasefire which includes opening the crossings and the withdrawal of Israeli forces.
Three leaders from the Strip, Jamal Abu Hashem, Salah Al Bardaweil and Ayman Taha are expected to be joined by Imad Mohammad Nasser from the leadership abroad.
Taha spoke with Asharq Al-Awsat exclusively saying, “We asked for the postponement of Thursday’s meeting because of the presence of Amos Gilad in Cairo to prevent any thinking that there are indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel.”
Taha continued, “The Egyptians told the group that there will be a meeting of the factions in Cairo to discuss [internal] reconciliation and calm… But we told them that it is Hamas which began the truce with Israel via Egypt and that file must first be completed and then it can be discussed with the other factions in order not to waste time in discussing the details first with the Palestinian factions where there is the potential for differences and controversy, particularly regarding duration and content, and therefore we preferred to complete the agreement first and then present it to the factions for discussion and approval later.”
He continued, “Egypt has informed us of the invitation to the delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization to come to Cairo, but we were unwilling and discontented with the idea, and asked the Egyptians to maintain the current form of the meetings until an agreement was reached and presented to the Palestinian factions.”
As for the internal national dialogue, the Hamas source said, “We have no objection to start in the case of reconciliation after the end of the file of the ceasefire on the condition that Abu Mazen release the Hamas detainees from Palestinian Authority jails.”
With regard to the crossings the Turks are requested to be involved as the Europeans are at the Rafah crossing with Egypt and the others with the Israelis. “We have proposed the opening of the crossing,” Taha said in reference to Rafah, “in accordance with the 2005 agreement.”
That arrangement was made between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli administration. It gave, on the Gaza side of the crossing, the Israelis control via cameras while the PA and Europeans were on the ground. Hamas sources said today that it would not agree to PA representatives coming from Ramallah but would only accept those already in the Strip.