'Flexible' Hamas in Makkah Summit

The participation of two delegations to represent the ruling Hamas and the government in crisis talks with rival Fatah in the Makah summit on "would give the resistance movement a more room to maneuver and take flexible stances on sticking points.

'Flexible' Hamas in Makkah Summit

"The movement is fully aware that it could come under pressure, even in an indirect way, during the Makkah summit, and the government delegation would give it a way out," Iyad el-Barghouthi, a political analyst, told IslamOnline.net.

"Thus, the movement would be able to remain committed to its principles and stances."

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal will lead the Hamas's delegation while Prime Minister Ismail Haniya will chair the government's.

President Mahmoud Abbas, who is leading the Fatah's delegation, was the first to arrive in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and was expected to meet King Abdullah, who has invited the rival leaders to reconcile their differences in Islam's holiest city.

"The regional turmoil makes it incumbent on Hamas to separate between its stances and those of the government," agreed political analyst Moamen Basiso.

"It takes wisdom and flexibility to iron out political hitches," he said, hailing Hamas's two-delegation move as "smart."

The make-or-break talks will resume in earnest Wednesday, February 7, in a bid to end seething political tensions between Hamas and Fatah.

Around 100 people have been killed since the political rivalry boiled over into street fighting and tit-for-tat attacks in December, the worst factional violence since Hamas took office early last year.

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since the former won landslide in the parliamentary elections in January 2006 and formed the government.

An ensuing political and aid boycott by the West has unleashed an unprecedented Palestinian economic crisis.

Thorny Issues 

Barghouthi expect the two sides to tackle all thorny issues.

"It is no surprise that they would discuss the Arab peace initiative to put an end to the political crisis," he said, referring to a peace initiative with Israel initiated by King Abdullah, who was then crown prince, in the 2002 Arab summit in Beirut.

The initiative, repeatedly spurned by Israel, proposes full diplomatic ties between Arab countries and Israel if the latter withdrew to the pre-1967 borders, accepted a viable Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital and allowed the return of Palestinian refugees.

"While the Hamas delegation is expected to reject the initiative, the government's might accept it in return for a Fatah pledge to reform the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel's acceptance of the initiative," said Barghouthi.

"Hamas as a movement is not obliged to accept the initiative If the government does," agreed Basiso.

The Makkah summit will seek to overcome differences between the rival factions on a power-sharing agreement and a national unity government.

Negotiators have tried but failed for months to find common ground on different issues, chiefly ties with Israel and the division of key ministerial portfolios.

"It is not expected that each faction would take for granted the agenda of the other," Barghouthi said.

"It is rather expected that they would reach a common ground to maintain national unity."

A shaky ceasefire between Fatah and Hamas was holding Tuesday in the Gaza Strip where guns, mortars and grenades have fallen silent for the first time in days.

Palestinian Ambassador in Riyadh said that both factions are expected to sign an agreement to stabilize the fragile truce and another to form a national unity government.

The summit will be the second meeting between the Western-backed Abbas and Meshaal after a rare meeting in Damascus on January 21.

"If they reached an accord, the Hamas and Fatah leaders would take a solemn oath in front of the Ka`bah to honor the agreement and preserve Palestinian blood," Palestinian diplomatic sources told IOL.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16