The Fatah movement, which controls the Palestinian Authority security agencies, has said it is ready to join Hamas in the war against Israel.
Former Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan, regarded as Fatah's chief in the Gaza Strip, earlier said the movement would not join Hamas in any government coalition. But Dahlan said Fatah was now ready to fight alongside Hamas against Israel on Egypt's Nile Channel on January 29th and that he hoped Hamas would succeed in joining forces with Fatah in a protracted war against Israel. Dahlan also said Hamas would also run military facilities:
"Certainly we will join forces in facing Israel, and Hamas announced that it will join its forces, will lead a struggle against Israel and also will run bases," Dahlan said. "I hope Hamas will succeed in those three things."
So far, Hamas and Fatah have also been threatening each other. On Febuary 1st, insurgents detonated a bomb in front of the house of a major commander of Dahlan's former organization, the Preventive Security Apparatus (PSA).
Seeking to prevent Fatah retaliation, Hamas leaders denied any connection to the attack on former PSA director Col. Suleiman Abu Mutlaq. The PSA, however, blamed Hamas for the bombing. Mutlaq was Fatah's candidate who ran and lost for the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in the KhanYunis region. Hamas blamed Fatah rivals of Abu Mutlaq for the bombing which damaged his house.
Despite Dahlan's dismissal, Hamas has not given up on Fatah participation in the next Palestinian Authority (PA) government. Hamas leaders told the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat newspaper on February 4th that Egypt, Syria, and some Gulf Cooperation Council states have prepared a plan for Fatah participation in any Hamas-led government.
The newspaper said that under the plan, Hamas would agree to reduce the powers of the prime minister and the cabinet. The changes would limit the prime minister's role in foreign affairs and security, while strengthening PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Under the plan, Fatah would be given several key ministries. This would include the
Interior Ministry and National Security office. Hamas has not formally responded to the Arab plan.
Egypt has urged Hamas to include several Fatah figures in the next government.
A-Sharq Al Awsat, as well as Al Quds, all Palestinian Authority newspapers, reported that PLC member Ziyad Abu Amr would be offered the job of foreign minister. Salam Fayyad would be allowed to keep his post of finance minister.
Meanwhile, Hamas has declared that all Palestinian agreements with Israel have been annulled.
Ahmed Bahr, a leader of the Hamas movement, told Al Quds on Feb. 1st that all agreements with Israel were annulled. Bahr said Hamas did not win the elections in the Palestinian Legislative Council on the basis of the 1993 Oslo agreements that established the Palestinian Authority.
"There is a tremendous difference in this matter," Bahr said. "We would never enter the elections on the basis of the Oslo agreements. We entered the 2006 elections in accordance with a Palestinian-Palestinian agreement in Cairo in March 2005."
"We have never said and we'll never say that we will conduct negotiations with Israel," Bahr said to the PA run Al Kuds on Feb. 5th, 2006.
This should mean the Oslo Accords are dead. But nobody in the West says this.
Bahr also said Hamas was not committed to any of the Oslo agreements that stipulated peaceful dialogue and cooperation with Israel. He said Hamas and Fatah, led by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, were committed to the same aim: "the end of the Israeli occupation."
"It is true that our brother Mahmoud Abbas and our brothers in the PA say that they want to end the occupation through negotiations," Bahr said. "And we say you have negotiated more than 10 years and have not ended the occupation." He referred, of course, to Israel not negotiating itself out of existence, not just the West Bank and Gaza.
Bahr said the "resistance drove out the occupation from the Gaza Strip. I stress that I have not entered the elections on the Oslo agreements. I stress that we entered the Palestinian elections in the interest of the Palestinians."
The Hamas leaders said the purpose of the Oslo agreements was to ensure Palestinian
recognition of Israel. Bahr said Oslo was designed for the Palestinian concession of
a large percentage of its land (Israel within secure borders) as well as the annulment of the PLO covenant.
"Oslo has already brought us disaster and helped settlements, raised the level of corruption to alarming proportions and increased Israeli attacks," Bahr said.
Bahr said Hamas would unite the PA security forces and ensure that they serve the
Palestinian people. He denied the assertion by another PLO leader, Khaled Masha'al, that Hamas would convert the PA forces into a Hamas army.
The position enumerated by Bahr appeared to be in the solid mainstream of the movement Mahmoud Zahar, head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, told Hizbullah's Al Manar television on January 25th, and that his movement would continue to attack and refuse to recognize Israel and replace the Jewish state with a Muslim entity.
"We will not give up the resistance in the sense of Jihad," Zahar said. "Palestine means Palestine in its entirety -- from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, from Ras Al Naqura to Rafah. We cannot give up a single inch of it."
Zahar envisioned a Palestinian educational system that would instruct children to kill
Jews. He said the Culture Ministry would idolize suicide bombers. "Our Culture Ministry will teach them how the martyr is turned into prose, literature, and poetry, and how a woman, who used to cook and do the laundry, becomes one of the heroes of Palestine," Zahar said.
Hamas has been presenting positions to Arab and Islamic leaders and on February 7th,
Masha'al led a Hamas delegation to Cairo to meet Egyptian leaders. The delegation was sent to visit the Gulf Arab states and would seek audiences in the European Union as well. The delegation consisted of Hamas parliamentarians Said Sayam and Mohammed Shama.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Hamas would appeal for support for the
Palestinian people. He also said Hamas has been in touch governments in the EU and the United States.
Stay tuned for more in the War on Terror as the "peace process" continues.
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