Hundreds of Gazan residents joined protest marches organized by the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Friday, August 23, AFP reported.
Upon completion of Friday services, protesters gathered and marched to a central square in Gaza City. Signs reading “no to negotiations” and labeling Mahmoud Abbas a “political failure” were held aloft by the protesters.
Hamas’s religious affairs minister Ismail Radwan condemned Mahmoud Abbas for engaging in negotiations with Israel and for considering any compromises of core Arab Palestinian demands in his speech to the protesters.
“All the Palestinian factions say you don’t have the right to relinquish any piece of our land, or to give up Palestinian rights,” he said.
“Returning to talks is a blow to the jihad and to the sacrifices of our people, the blood of our martyrs and to our prisoners behind bars in Israel,” Radwan declared.
“No to these absurd negotiations, no to returning to the negotiating table, no to security cooperation, no to the exchange of land, and not to giving up on the right of return,” Radwan shouted into the microphone.
Israeli and Arab Palestinian negotiators held the third in their series talks on Tuesday in Jerusalem. The next session will take place in Jericho.
There has been an ongoing effort by Fatah and Hamas to form a unity government which would represent all the Arab Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority unity government was disbanded in 2007 by Abbas, whose term officially ended in 2006. Since that time Hamas has been the de facto government in Gaza while Fatah has been the de facto Arab Palestinian ruling government over Areas A and B of the disputed territories.
During the past week, Abbas offered to hold general elections, ostensibly as a move to unify Fatah and Hamas. That offer was rejected by Hamas which demanded more issues to be placed under consideration, while Fatah wished the items to be more carefully circumscribed. In addition, Hamas strongly supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – Hamas is an outgrowth of the Brotherhood – while Fatah favors the military’s control over Egypt and supported the overthrow of former president Mohamad Morsi.
The Arab Palestinian negotiators engaged in the current rounds of U.S.-moderated ‘peace talks’ solely represent Fatah. Whatever concessions or agreements entered into by Fatah would surely be rejected by Hamas, if those parties ever succeed in creating a unity government.
On the other hand, the Arab Palestinians, the U.S. and the global community will undoubtedly demand that Israel honor whatever concessions, if any, the Jewish State makes during these talks.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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