Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Fatah and Hamas Talks Continue in Cairo | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Fatah and Hamas movements have agreed that the committees on government, security, and elections, which stemmed from the Palestinian dialogue, will resume their meeting in Cairo within a week to settle pending issues on their agendas no later than 5 July.

The agreements that these committees had reached so far will be referred to the Palestinian factions that will meet in Cairo on 7 July to announce their final agreement. Palestinian sources that participated in Sunday’s meeting said that the ongoing negotiations in Cairo have achieved an important breakthrough by the agreement on resumption of the work of the aforementioned committees to settle pending issues on their agendas.

These sources pointed out that the Hamas and Fatah delegations will hold another meeting in Cairo today, Monday, as part of the fifth round of the Palestinian dialogue.

These sources said that after a final agreement is announced, a high-level Egyptian security delegation will leave for Gaza to supervise implementation of the agreement, particularly the security aspects. The Egyptian delegation will also take part in rehabilitating the new security agencies that will be reconstituted on non-factional basis. They added that at Sunday’s meeting the conferees agreed to keep both the Hamas’s government as well as the Ismail Haniyeh government in place until the elections are held.

According to these sources, Minister Omar Suleiman, chief of the Egyptian Intelligence Department, notified the Hamas and Fatah delegations that Egypt was very keen on seeing the Palestinian national dialogue reach agreement that will end the state of Palestinian division so that the next round of negotiations will be designated for announcing a final agreement.

Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah bloc at the Palestinian Legislative Council and member of Fatah delegation to the Cairo dialogue, said: “In the fifth round of the Palestinian dialogue, we discussed the election law, security in the Gaza Strip during the transitional phase, as well as a proposal for the formation of a joint security force comprised of the security elements that operate under Hamas ‘s supervision in Gaza and of the personnel and commanders affiliated with the Palestinian Authority’s security agencies, who are not currently operating because of the Hamas ‘s coup. This joint force will be tasked with overseeing the situation until the security agencies are rebuilt and the state of division is ended.

Discussing Egypt’s proposal for forming a committee in the event the Palestinian interlocutors fail to reach agreement on the government and its political program, Al-Ahmad said that it is clear that certain media outlets have displayed misunderstanding of this committee’s tasks. We must make it clear that the basic tasks of this committee are to help President Mahmud Abbas and his legitimate government to impalement what will be agreed in the Palestinian dialogue. The committee will not be tasked with coordination between the Ramallah government and another government in Gaza, as certain media outlets have reported.

Al-Ahmad added that Egypt informed the interlocutors in Cairo of its intention to permanently open the Rafah land crossing to the people of the Gaza strip after the Palestinian factions sign agreement that ends their divisions. He pointed out that minister Omar Suleiman stressed that Egypt had held the necessary contacts with various parties, including Israel and the United States, regarding this issue.

Al-Ahmad noted that Egypt affirmed to the Palestinian interlocutors that one of the first practical steps that will be taken after an agreement is reached among the Palestinian factions is to start reconstruction work in Gaza, end the blockade, and assist the Palestinian people in fulfilling their aspirations for freedom and independence.

For his part, Izzat al-Rushuq, a leading figure from Hamas, said that among the pending issues that will be discussed with Fatah is the election law. He noted that Hamas at first wanted a mixed system (individual-list) at a ratio of 50-50, but Fatah proposed a ratio of 20 percent for individuals and 80 percent for proportionate lists. He added that Hamas later proposed a ratio of 40percent for individuals and 60 percent for proportionate lists. Egypt proposed a ratio of 75 percent for lists and 25 percent for individuals.

Al-Rushuq said that another point of disagreement is the proposal for the formation of a joint security force comprising Hamas security men as well as security men from the Palestinian Authority security agencies still in the Gaza strip. He said Hamas objected to this proposal and stressed the need for restructuring simultaneously the security agencies in both the Gaza strip and the West Bank.

Salah al-Bardawil, a prominent leader from Hamas, had earlier refused to confirm or deny reports that the Hamas movement has approved an Egyptian proposal for forming a national accord government headed by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas without being referred to the Legislative Council for a vote of confidence.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine [DFLP] has released a statement criticizing the bilateral dialogue between Fatah and Hamas. It said: “Comprehensive national dialogue is the path that leads to national solutions. Hamas and Fatah should resort to the people. Legislative and presidential elections should be held along with elections for a new, united PLO Notational Council with full proportional representation and zero decisive ratio threshold, similar to that valid in South Africa. This will ensure national partnership and the unity of the people, land, and national institutions in the occupied homeland and in the diaspora.”