Fatah and Hamas not ready to create unified government

Fatah and Hamas not ready to create unified government

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 3 / Trend , U. Sadigova/

Non-participation of Hamas in the conference devoted to the problems of the Gaza Strip shows that there are many disagreements between Fatah and Hamas on establishment of a national government.

"There is too much bad blood [between Fatah and Hamas]," Council for Arab-British Understanding President Chris Doyle wrote to Trend in an email. This conference [in Sharm el-Sheikh] has come too soon [to establish a national government], he added.

Hamas representatives were not invited to a conference on reconstruction of the Gaza Strip held in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh, though the enclave is controlled by Hamas leaders.

Head of the Palestinian Autonomy Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam al-Fayad spoke at the conference on behalf of the Palestinian Autonomy.

Hamas representative Muhammad Nazal said in an interview with Al-Jazeera that "the movement criticizes the lack of respect shown by the EU and Arab countries when ignoring participation of Hamas". Restoration of the Gaza Strip is impossible without cooperation and participation of Hamas, he added.

As an aid for reconstruction of Gaza, the Palestinian national government received some $4.5 billion. The major donor countries were Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the U.S. and the EU.

"Eventually there will need to donor recognition that dealing with Hamas is essential if they wish to engage in serious reconstruction in Gaza," said Doyle.

The conference was held immediately after the talks between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo. The talks focused on creation of a unified Palestinian government by the end of March in order to end the political controversy ongoing since Hamas's victory in the 2006 parliamentary elections.

Fatah and Hamas resumed dialogue after the Israeli military operation in Gaza against Hamas that killed 1,300 Palestinians and 16 Israelis. The Hamas administrative infrastructure and several residential neighborhoods in Gaza were completely destroyed.

Official representatives of the Palestinian Autonomy believe that the Sharm el-Sheikh conference does not cover problems of the Palestinian factions. Therefore, only the governing Fatah party was attending.

"The Palestinian people represent the national government, not Hamas," Palestinian delegation to the EU deputy head Adil Atay told Trend in a telephone conversation from Brussels. Therefore, neither Hamas nor Fatah nor other political faction participated in the conference.

Palestinian Autonomy legislative body representative Ziad Abu Amr believes that participation of Hamas in the national government is necessary, as this will facilitate the recovery of Gaza.

"Restoration of Gaza is impossible without unity of the Palestinian interests and without a unified government," Palestinian Council for External Relations Chairman Ziad Abu Amr told Trend in a telephone conversation.

However, differences between Fatah and Hamas regarding control over the Palestinian territories and the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue can inhibit truce between them.

Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist and rejects the legitimacy of international agreements signed during the peace process.

"The Palestinian government does not require Hamas to recognize Israel. But it is important that a future Palestinian government complies with all international treaties [of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue]," Palestinian diplomat Atay said.

Negotiations in Oslo in 1993 laid the foundation of the peace process. The negotiations culminated in signing of an agreement in Washington between former leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The agreement provides empowering the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to independently govern the West Bank and transferred control over the territory to the PLO police.

The dialogue between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo may reach any agreement, but the agreement will have little chance to be implemented, Al Ayyam newspaper observer Mohammad Yaghi said.

Creation of a national government may give Hamas a chance to have a big share in the PLO. Mahmoud Abbas can legitimize its power. But is Abbas ready to pay the price Hamas seeks? - Yaghi told Trend .

Mahmoud Abbas's office term expired in January 2009, but he retained the presidency until elections in 2010.

"Fatah control the PLO since 1968 and it is not willing to share that with any Palestinian faction especially Hamas," Yaghi said.

Another disputable issue is deployment of security forces in the West Bank in line with the Road Map, adopted in 2003. Fatah security forces control the territory.

Leading political analyst for Palestinian issue Yaghi said that Abbas is not willing to remake the security forces, especially that the U.S. is supporting these forces.  

"Fatah and Hamas are two competing parties and the issues of the dialogue affect the future of this completion and neither party wants to loose," he said. 

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