Fragile Truce Between Hamas, Fatah

The ruling Hamas and the rival Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to a truce.

Fragile Truce Between Hamas, Fatah

The Supreme Committee of the Palestinian Islamic and Resistance Factions announced the truce at a press conference late Sunday, December 18.

It calls for an immediate ceasefire, pulling back fighters of the two rivals from the streets, re-deploying security forces to their locations before the outbreak of violence, a halt to media warfare and street rallies, and the release of men abducted by each side.

The deal also called for a meeting grouping representatives of Hamas, Fatah and the Supreme Committee to help put back on track talks on forming a national unity government.


Fatah fighters shoot into the air as they march during a rally in support of Abbas.

Fatah spokesman Fatah Tawfiq confirmed the agreement.

"We have agreed to a ceasefire," he said.

"But Fatah will not take part in the press conference in protest at the killing of colonel Adnan Rahmi (who was killed in Sunday's tit-for-tat violence) and the mortar attack on the presidential headquarters (in Gaza)."

The new ceasefire got of to an inauspicious start as groups of heavily armed gunmen from both sides continued to roam the tense streets of the impoverished coastal strip late Sunday.

There were sporadic exchanges of fire overnight, including an incident in which two members of a Hamas-led police force were wounded moments after the agreement was announced, Reuters reported.

Forces loyal to Hamas and Fatah fought street and rooftop gunbattles across Gaza earlier on Sunday.

Gunmen also fired mortars at Abbas's offices while his forces seized two Hamas ministries. Abbas was not in Gaza at the time.

At least three people were killed and 20 wounded on Sunday, bringing to four the number of people killed since Abbass's controversial announcement.

The victims of the violence are a 19-year-old woman and 13-year-old boy caught in the crossfire as well as two Fatah loyalists.

Unidentified gunmen also fired on Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar's vehicle in Gaza. He escaped unscathed.

Abbas's call for early elections has set off fears that the bitter power struggle between Hamas and his Fatah faction could ignite a civil strife.

Two opinion polls released Sunday showed that more than 60 percent of Palestinians support holding early elections.

According to one of them, Fatah would narrowly win a parliamentary election with 42 percent of the vote, compared with 36 percent for Hamas.

Hamas has said it would boycott new polls, to be the third election since the Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994.

The Palestinian basic law does not address the issue of early elections and the current parliament, elected in January, normally would remain in place until the end of 2010.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16