A Fatah and Hamas meeting in the Gaza Strip that was supposed to take place Wednesday and which was intended to coordinate opposition to the US ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan has been postponed and may be canceled.
The feuding factions are exchanging accusations about the reasons for the cancellation of the meeting, which was decided upon during a phone call from Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh to Palestinian Authority and Fatah faction leader Mahmoud Abbas. At that time, Haniyeh invited Abbas to visit Gaza.
PA Civil Affairs Minister Hossein a-Sheikh announced Tuesday that the visit by Abbas to the Gaza Strip “will not be possible” as he is busy fighting the peace deal and “is conducting a media, diplomatic, legal and international effort.”
However, PA officials told TPS there is a dispute between the two factions, possibly because the PA is currently avoiding dramatic measures, such as canceling security coordination with Israel.
Although the leaders agreed on unity and that a Fatah delegation will arrive in Gaza and meet with Hamas and other factions, PA sources reported that Fatah has withdrawn from this understanding and is refusing to meet a number of the Gaza factions.
Fatah spokespersons, including Azzam al-Ahmed, a PA envoy to the Gaza Strip, attempted to explain that the meeting did not take place because Hamas had not set a date for the meeting and therefore it was not appropriate to leave for the Gaza Strip.
Hamas rejected this and said the postponement “conveyed a negative message to the Palestinian people” and that this step is “inconsistent with the dangerous circumstances in which the Palestinians find themselves.”
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum added that the group had officially announced it was prepared to welcome Abu Mazen (Abbas’ nom de guerre) in Gaza.
Hamas also claims that it accepted the request by Fatah to hold wide-ranging meetings and closed meetings which would include only Hamas and Fatah representatives.
However, an exchange of accusations between the parties also continued. Ibrahim Hamami, affiliated with Hamas, said that Abbas “remains traitorous and still considers Oslo [peace accords] the most important agreement and is refusing to annex the territories of the Triangle, saying that these are “Israeli” territories even though they are Palestinian homeland lands.”
Another Hamas official, Maher Sabra, urged the PA to take drastic measures immediately to reject the Deal of the Century, and first and foremost, to cease security coordination with Israel.
Hana Levi Julian contributed to this report.