London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas is waiting for a response from Fatah and the Palestinian Authority over a mechanism to promote reconciliation efforts to reach an agreement to resolve the Palestinian crisis that was recently put forward by the Hamas movement.
Mohamed al-Zahar told Asharq Al-Awsat “I personally called Azzam al-Ahmad (a member of the Fatah Central Committee responsible for the national reconciliation file) to explain the misunderstanding that took place following the arrival of Munib al-Masri (Palestinian businessman who was exerting effort to mediate between Hamas and Fatah).”
He added “we presented them with a mechanism and we asked them to consider it…and we are waiting for their response. If this is agreed upon then we can go to Egypt, and we can make it a part of the [reconciliation] agreement or an attachment of this.”
Al-Zahar also told Asharq Al-Awsat “They have not responded to us until now…and we are waiting. I may telephone Azzam al-Ahmed once again to know the situation.”
Al-Zahar refused to reveal the details of this mechanism on the grounds that “this has not yet been agreed, and it will be revealed the moment that we agree upon it.”
Al-Zahar also said that the talks between the Hamas and Fatah leaderships “focus on two key points; the first relates to the Central Elections Commission, and the second relates to the PLO, and Fatah continue to examine the situation and it is dealing with this positively.”
Hamas called for the Election Commission to be formed in consultation, whereas Fatah wants this to be formed through consensus. Al-Ahmed responded to al-Zahar saying that there is no disagreement between these two terms, however al-Zahar called for more discussions to take place on this issue in order to ensure the integrity of the electoral commission in line with the manner in which previous Palestinian election commissions were formed.
As for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s pre-condition that Hamas first sign the Palestinian Reconciliation agreement in its current form – which Fatah already signed on 25 November 2009 – before any new steps can be taken, al-Zahar responded that “if this is his opinion then he must wait.”
In response to a conviction held by some in the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah leadership that there is a dispute between the position of the Hamas leadership in Gaza and the Hamas leadership abroad, and that Gazan Hamas leadership – which includes Mahmoud al-Zahar – may take a bold step towards reconciliation, al-Zahar responded “they must wait…and those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
Al-Zahar confirmed that Hamas contacted Egypt – which is sponsoring the inter-Palestinian reconciliations – on Wednesday night and informed them of the new developments. He also ruled out a Hamas delegations begin sent to Cairo, saying “if we reach an agreement with Fatah then a Hamas delegations will be sent to Cairo within the hour to sign the Egyptian agreement, otherwise what would be the point of this visit.”