Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad group in Damascus, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, asserted on Monday that his party is up for a comprehensive dialogue among all Palestinian factions, including the rival Hamas and Fatah .
Shallah’s remarks came on the sideline of a meeting between himself and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, during an underway visit by the latter to Syria.
Palestinian media sources, close to Abbas, excluded a meeting between Abbas and Hamas’ exiled supreme political leader, Khaled Mash’al.
The sources said that the Palestinian president blamed Mash’al for two letters, Masha’l was reportedly sent out to both Secretary of Arab States’ league Amr Mousa and Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in which the Hamas’s leader believed that Abbas’ last month’s initiative for dialogue was meant to pave the way for upcoming agreements with Israel.
From his part, Hamas’s Damascus-based political leader, Mohammad Nazzal, said that Abbas’s inability to hold direct talks with Hamas’s leaders in the Syrian capital can be attributed to the American Veto, particularly that of the U.S Secretary of States, Condoleezza Rice.
Later on Monday, Abbas will be meeting with leaders of other Palestinian factions in Damascus, to brief them on the latest developments regarding the dialogue with Hamas.
Fatah MP, Ahmad Abu Huli of Gaza, who is based now in the West Bank told the IMEMC over phone that the last month’s initiative for dialogue that President Abbas launched was meant to return the situation back prior to June 2007.
‘ The Yemeni initiative, which Hamas agreed to in San’a in March of this year, called utterly for returning the situation back prior to June 2007. Also, the Arab states league demanded this from Hamas, shortly after June14,2007’s incidents’, Abu Huli explained.
He added ‘ The President didnâ€™t mention the word coup , he rather used the term division. Therefore, what is needed now after almost two years of Hamas governance experience in Gaza, are parliamentary and presidential elections, which would give the final say to the people and then all should respect the people’s choice’.
Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas’s spokesman in Gaza told the IMEMC earlier that his party considers the dialogue as an integral strategy of Hamas.
‘ Since the very beginning we have been considering the dialogue as a in integral policy line of Hamas, therefore , we have been in constant contact with Palestinian factions inside and outside, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan and Qattar for helping end this profile’.
In March of this year, the Yemeni capital hosted Fatah and Hamas representatives for a conciliation meeting that meant to end rivalry and prepare the ground for a genuine dialogue, yet since then nothing has been observed.
Media sources reported that the Arab league, which Damascus presides its current summit, would host a comprehensive dialogue among Palestinian factions, yet no details have been reported.
Both Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since Hamas won the parliamentary elections in 2006, which enabled Hamas to share the secular Fatah party’s hegemony over Palestinian politics that lasted for almost four decades.
Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007 amidst factional fighting with Fatah, and since then Abbas has outlawed the party and demanded an end to its control over the coastal territory.
Since winning the elections, Hamas has been sidelined by western governments, United States and Israel, until the Islamist party drops its resistance agenda, accepts past signed agreements with Israel and recognizes Israel.
The international boycott of Hamas has been folded by a crippling Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip since June 2007. The blockade has worsened living conditions of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents, whose welfare has been solely the responsibility of Hamas since Abbas installed a caretaker government in Ramallah in July 2007.