Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat – Dr. Mahmud al-Zahhar, a prominent leader in the Hamas Movement, said that during its latest visit to Cairo the Hamas delegation foiled a plan to stir up discord between Hamas, Egypt and the Arab League.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, he emphasized that Hamas and Egypt surprised everyone when they reached understanding on the issues that should be discussed at the Cairo dialogues, contrary to expectations by some parties that “Egypt would send Hamas to the gallows.”
Al-Zahhar pointed out that this agreement came as a result of the recent coordination meetings and contacts between Egyptian and Hamas officials in Cairo. He underlined that Hamas agreed with the Egyptians on the need to reach final agreement on the smallest details. Toward this goal they agreed to form ad hoc committees to discuss the issues on which general agreement had been reached, namely, forming a national accord government, reconstituting the security apparatuses, restructuring the PLO, and addressing the issues of political partnership and administrative procedures.
Al-Zahhar said that it is out of the question for Hamas to skip any details or rely on good intent, noting that in the Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah that it was agreed to setup a committee to study the issue of political partnership. However, that committee was not formed “because there was no good intent to implement what was agreed upon.” Al-Zahhar underlined that Hamas will not take any step that contradicts with its convictions under threats of boycott, isolation, or sanctions. He stressed that “those who believe that the Arab countries are in their pockets are mistaken, because during meetings with representatives of the Arab countries Hamas did not sense that they had more reservations about Hamas’s position than they have about the other party’s.” He added that those who wager on Hamas being isolated by the Arab League should remember that endorsement of any resolution by the Arab League requires unanimous agreement by all Arab countries.
He noted that representatives of numerous Arab countries have several reservations about the continuing futile negotiations which provide Israel with cover to continue settlement construction, expansion, Judaization of land, and other such measures against the Palestinian people. Al-Zahhar refused to say if he expects results from the Cairo dialogues, saying that this does not depend on optimism or pessimism, but on realities. He stressed that Hamas will continue its efforts to reach national accord despite the continuing campaigns by the security agencies of the Salam Fayyad’s government against Hamas’s activists and institutions in the West Bank under the protection of and in coordination with the Israeli troops. Al-Zahhar revealed that meetings and contacts between Hamas and representatives of Western Countries are continuing on various levels. He asserted that representatives of the Western Countries affirm to Hamas that they are not publicizing these contacts because of US pressure against such contacts. Ibrahim Abu-al-Naja, member of the Fatah Movement’s Higher Command and member of the Fatah delegation to the Cairo dialogue, had earlier stressed that Egyptian officials will work out a document to be proposed at the comprehensive Palestinian national dialogue in November, and that this document will be submitted the Arab League.
He pointed out that “any Palestinian group that departs from this Arab consensus will place itself in confrontation with all Arab countries and will bear responsibility for any measures that will be taken, such as isolation, condemnation, and the like.” He said that Fatah answered in the “affirmative” the Egyptian government’s questions regarding the future solution to domestic Palestinian divisions.”