Palestinians calls for unity between Hamas and Palestinian Authority


Scores of Palestinians were killed in the fighting that erupted between Hamas and the PA security forces and Fatah gunmen in the Gaza Strip before and during the Hamas coup d’etat in June 2007.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) talks with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) talks with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

(photo credit: REUTERS)

On the 13th anniversary of Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip, several Palestinian factions and officials on Saturday called for an end to the continued dispute between the Islamist movement and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority.

They also warned that the dispute jeopardizes the Palestinian “national project” and plays into the hands of Israel and the US, and urged Hamas to relinquish its control of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, for its part, has ignored the anniversary and its leaders did not publicly comment on the occasion.

Scores of Palestinians were killed in the fighting that erupted between Hamas and the PA security forces and Fatah gunmen in the Gaza Strip before and during the Hamas coup d’etat in June 2007.

Tensions between Hamas and Fatah had intensified after Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections. Since then, several attempts by Arab states to resolve the Hamas-Fatah rift have failed.

On February 8, 2007, Saudi Arabia managed to secure an agreement between Hamas and Fatah to establish a Palestinian national unity government. The accord, called the Hamas-Fatah Mecca Agreement, included measures to end the internecine violence. In spite of the agreement, violent clashes continued in the Gaza Strip, prompting Abbas to dissolve the unity government and dismiss Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Repeated attempts by the PA to undermine Hamas in the past 13 years have been unsuccessful. In 2018, Abbas imposed a series of economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip that included halting or cutting payments to thousands of PA employees.

In a statement marking the 13th anniversary of the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, Fatah said Hamas “insists on continuing its policy of coup d’etat and division.”

Referring to Hamas’s links with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood organization, Fatah accused Hamas of serving “external agendas at the expense of the Palestinian issue” and working to establish a separate Palestinian state with temporary borders in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas coup d’etat, Fatah argued, has “caused heavy damage to the national cause.” Fatah accused Hamas of “serving Israeli goals” by creating division among the Palestinians and preventing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Fatah warned of the “dangers of the continuation of the Hamas devastating policy to the future of the Palestinian people and their legitimate national rights,” adding that Hamas was “using the Palestinian cause to serve the agendas of the Muslim Brotherhood and regional and international powers.”

According to Fatah, Hamas has failed in everything except its success in dividing the Palestinians and destroying their economy.

   “This sedition and bloodshed have had a profound negative impact on the social and political fabric of the Palestinian people,” Fatah charged, claiming that Hamas was acting in collusion with US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace. “This is a conspiracy aimed at ending the [Palestinian] national project, and not creating an independent Palestinian state.”

Eyad al-Nasr, a senior Fatah official in the Gaza Strip, said the anniversary marks a “dark and painful chapter in Palestinian history.” Fatah, he said, was prepared to forget all the differences with Hamas in order to end the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and achieve national unity.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat described the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip as a “bleeding wound.” Erekat said that there was no justification for Hamas’s continued rule over the Gaza Strip and repeated the PA’s readiness to achieve “reconciliation” with the Islamist movement.

The Palestinian People’s Party (formerly the Palestinian Communist Party), said that the Hamas coup d’etat has led to a “deterioration in the status of the Palestinian issue in the international arena, as well as the deterioration of the Palestinian economy.”

Walid al-Awad, member of the “political bureau” of the Palestinian People’s Party, said that the division among the Palestinians has provided an opportunity for Israel and the US to “conspire” against the Palestinian issue. “The repercussions of the Hamas coup are still present, with the poverty rate in the Gaza Strip exceeding 70% and unemployment 65%,” al-Awad lamented.

PLO official Wasel Abu Yousef said that Palestinian unity was now a priority for the Palestinians in wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talk about extending sovereignty to parts of the West Bank. “Perpetuating the [Hamas] coup is an Israeli national interest,” Abu Yousef remarked. “Our people are observing a painful memory, especially in light of the challenges of the Deal of the Century and the annexation that threatens our people.”

Palestinian columnist Omar Hilmi al-Ghul, who is closely associated with the PA, expressed opposition to a truce with Hamas, explaining that such a move would not serve the Palestinian national project and Arab national interests.

Referring to Hamas as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Ghul called for a “strategic decision to liquidate and defeat [Hamas] because it represents the Trojan Horse that has infiltrated the social, political and cultural fabric of our people and threatens the glorious history of the revolution, the people and the Palestinian political system.”



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