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PLO Official Urges Arab Efforts to Reconcile Palestinian Factions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Farooq Qaddumi (Abu al-Lutf), head of the PLO Executive Committee Political Department, has stated that “reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas cannot be achieved without true and effective Arab effort, because the deteriorated situation in the Palestinian arena has started to reflect negatively on the Arab situation in general.”

The Fatah leader called on “all Palestinian factions, without exception, to make every effort to achieve reconciliation and find a way out of the predicament in which the Palestine question has been caught.” He said: “I believe that the swift activation of the PLO represents the best solution to render reconciliation successful.”

He noted that the activation of the PLO must guarantee the inclusion of all the forces that have been outside the framework of the PLO, particularly Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, in addition to independent figures, civic society leaders, and so on.” He added: “Otherwise, the Palestine question will continue to lose.” Qaddumi stressed that “national unity is the core of struggle and without it, Palestinian efforts to secure freedom, independence, and self-determination will fail.” He said that “the PLO is the comprehensive melting pot for all the Palestinians. Therefore, the immediate activation of the PLO will help us avoid many of the problems that might arise as a result of division and the continued media back and forth.” According to Qaddumi, “Israel and the United States have made continued efforts to prevent the Palestinians from reaching agreement.” Concerning the effect of late President Yasir Arafat’s (Abu-Ammar) absence on Fatah and the Palestinian arena, Qaddumi said: “Abu-Ammar left a great vacuum and his departure was sudden.” He added: “We in Fatah and the PA should have prepared for such a leadership vacuum. However, this was difficult due to the large distance between operative leaderships inside and outside the Palestinian territories and the differences in their stances.”

Qaddumi continued: “Abu-Ammar had brought everyone together through his continued contacts and trips, during which he met with, listened to, and exchanged views with Palestinian leaders; discussed with them all issues; and allowed them to be part of the decision-making process.” He continued: “However, today, unilateral actions that are far from deliberation with leaders and cadres are governing Palestinian practices.” He said: “The responsibilities of central commands have been usurped and replaced by talks within the framework of the PA, which is a local authority, according to Article 6 of the Oslo Declaration.”

Regarding the convocation of Fatah’s Sixth General Congress and the continued meetings of its preparatory committee in Amman, the Fatah official said: “Fatah has made great progress in preparing for its Sixth Congress.” He added: “I believe that Fatah is on the threshold of the convocation of the congress. All that is left is to determine the time and place and this is left for the PLO Central Committee to decide. Moreover, the proposed number of participating members is between 1,000 and 1,500.”

Asked about the possibility that — in the case of its convocation — the congress will cause divisions within Fatah as a result of the differences in stances, the head of the PLO’s Central Committee said: “Some manifestations are troubling us because they fall outside the framework of party discipline.”

He added: “The media is circulating fabricated stories provided by saboteurs in an effort to stir up discord among the various Palestinian Fatah leaders. Therefore, we are determined to set up a political program that is consistent with the nature of this stage and that recognizes resistance as a major element in Palestinian struggle, in an effort to restore our legitimate national rights.” Abu al-Lutf said that he “expects the emergence of certain problems within the context of the convocation of the congress.” He added: “Such a significant congress that is being held after years of absence will not be void of problems, similar to the situation we have been through in the past.”

He concluded by saying: “Nevertheless, we must deal with all these problems and issues with a spirit of cooperation and determination to maintain Fatah’s unity and achieve our aspired goals.”