Fatah refuses to share management of Gaza with Hamas, offers Hamas opportunity for a broader coalition
A prominent Fatah leader declared Monday that his movement will be offering Hamas the opportunity to participate in a coalition government with the PA. He also asserted that their participation will not just be limited to issues regarding the Gaza Strip, but will also include all the Palestinian territories.
Hamas had previously requested (at the meeting of Palestinian factions in Gaza last Saturday) to provide details over the administration of the Gaza Strip following a possible Israeli withdrawal from the territory. At the same meeting, Hamas also stressed that they expected a major and active role regarding the administration of the Gaza strip.
Prominent Fatah leader Hatem Abdul Kader told Al Bawaba that his movement is indeed willing to share the administration of Gaza with Hamas.
“The only condition that Fatah has in sharing power with Hamas is to have the same role extended to the entire Palestinian land and not just the Gaza strip…we do not want to create a ghetto in Gaza. We welcome Hamas to help [the PA] rule all the Palestinian territories [including the West Bank]".
"I am however sorry to hear that Hamas’ interest is limited to the Gaza Strip. We would like to see Hamas request a broader role in the political future of our nation. We have in the past offered Hamas this opportunity, but they have always refused it," Hatem added.
Hamas was one of many Palestinian factions that refused to take part in the Palestinian Authority following the peace agreement in 1993, while rejecting the Oslo accords entirely.
Abdul Kader, who is also a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, believes that there are signs of change in Hamas' stance.
"We will offer them another chance to join the government…Hamas and any other Palestinian faction are more than welcome to share in Fatah’s responsibilities in administering the Palestinian territories."
About the future of the military wings of these factions following any political participation, Abdul Kader believes that this is an issue that should be decided upon by any new Palestinian government, who is also expected to put a framework together on dealing with the future of our [Palestinian] struggle. “We will however always assert that armed struggle is a right for every Palestinian," he added.
Hatem added that it is still a remote possibility for the Palestinian factions to participate in any coalition government with the PA, but he also emphasizes that is not impossible.
“I hope that all factions will show more responsibility and help address the variables that are working against the Palestinians, as we now live in very dangerous times. I hope they all agree on a new coalition government," Hatem concluded.
For its part, Hamas did not disclose any details about their possible participation in a new government.
"We have informed the concerned parties of our demands. It is still premature to speak on this as we have not seen a real Israeli withdrawal yet" Saeed Siam, a prominent Hamas leader, conveyed to Al Bawaba earlier today.
Siam also added that "in case of any Israeli withdrawal, I want the entire world to know that this is because of the Palestinian resistance, and not because of the peace accords signed with the Palestinian Authority."
According to Siam, Hamas believes that due to their major [armed] role against Israel, the latter has decided to end its occupation of Gaza. Due to this Siam argues, it a right of Hamas to have a large role in administering the Gaza strip.
Intense negotiations are currently taking place between the Palestinian factions and the PA over the political future of the Gaza strip following a possible Israeli withdrawal. According to some observers, the Palestinian Authority is somewhat relieved at the discussions with the factions so far as none of the negotiations have focused on security issues and the ‘administrative nitty-gritty’, but rather on the more general political sphere.
"The issues that are being negotiated are very reassuring. When the factions mutually decide on how they would like to participate, the Palestinian Authority will be more than happy to make them partners in the political decisions," the Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Hisham Abdul Raziq commented to Al Bawaba.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)