Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Hamas and Fatah Still at Loggerheads over Many Issues – Palestinian Source | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat – An informed Palestinian source warned against excessive optimism following talks that a Hamas Movement delegation recently held in Cairo. He emphasized that the understandings, which the Hamas Movement reached with Egypt, are general and loose.

The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that agreement between the two movements on the details of forming a national unity government, re-forming the security agencies, and rebuilding the PLO, and on a political partnership and administrative arrangements following Hamas ‘s takeover of Gaza requires the two parties to show a great deal of flexibility and good intention. The source said even though the Hamas and Fatah movements agreed in principle on these issues; it is clear from now that there are deep disagreements between the two sides over all details of every issue.

The source added that even though Hamas and Fatah agree on forming a national unity government, the major problem that will face a final accord on this issue will be agreement on the identity of the head of such a government. The source noted that even though the Hamas Movement is ready in principle to give up the presidency of the next government, it is difficult to find a candidate acceptable to both sides to take up this post because the considerations that govern the two movements when nominating the next prime minister are almost completely contradictory. The source said one of the main points of disagreement between the two movements is the political program of the next government. He explained that while Hamas insists that the government’s political program be based on the Mecca agreement, which the two movements reached in February last year, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas insists that the government’s political program be based on the PLO program.

The source added that even though Hamas and Fatah agree on re-forming the security agencies, agreement on mechanisms to achieve this goal will be extremely difficult. The source said the difficulty in this issue lies in the fact that the Hamas Movement had setup a security force consisting of thousands of elements, and the Movement will want to keep these personnel in any new formation of the security agencies.

The source added: Besides, re-formation of the security agencies in the West Bank will be very difficult. Commanders of the security agencies that belong to Abbas refuse to include any of the Hamas members in these agencies, which currently pursue the Hamas members.

The source continued: Moreover, it will be impossible for Israel to approve this step because Israel expects the Palestinian security agencies that are based in the West Bank to coordinate with the Israeli army in the fight against resistance movements that operate there. The source pointed out that a general agreement on rebuilding the PLO obscures the fact that there is large disagreement between the two sides over practical mechanisms to rebuild the organization. The source explained that Fatah insists that the PLO be rebuilt after Hamas joins the organization while Hamas insists that the PLO be rebuilt before it joins the organization.