World Bulletin / News Desk
Fatah spokesman Hassan Ahmed on Tuesday acknowledged as "positive" a decision by Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to release some Fatah detainees and allow some Fatah members to return to the Hamas-run coastal enclave, but maintained that the gesture was "not enough" to end the longstanding rift between the two rival Palestinian factions.
"[Haniyeh's] decisions are positive and conducive to creating an environment necessary for reconciliation," Ahmed told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday. "But they aren't enough to end the division."
Speaking at a Monday press conference, Haniyeh said 2014 would be "the year of Palestinian reconciliation." He declared that all Fatah members who had fled the territory in 2007 – when Hamas took over the enclave – were welcome to return, except those charged with wrongdoing.
Haniyeh also said the Gaza Interior Ministry would release some of the Fatah members who had been arrested on political charges, asserting that the number of such prisoners was minimal.
Ahmed, for his part, said Fatah was "entirely prepared" to end the conflict with Hamas.
"However," he added, "Hamas must communicate directly, not through the media, with [Fatah leader] Mahmoud Abbas and inform him that it agrees to hold legislative and presidential elections in Gaza and the West Bank."
In 2007, Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip routed troops loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and seized control of the strip.
Continued conflict between Hamas and Fatah, the latter of which holds the Palestinian presidency, obliged Hamas to form its own government in Gaza, while Fatah did the same in the West Bank.
In 2011, Hamas and Fatah hammered out a reconciliation deal under Egyptian sponsorship. The following year, the two sides agreed to form a unity government headed up by Abbas to pave the way for parliamentary polls.
The agreement, however, was never implemented.
Despite their vast differences, particularly over peace talks with Israel, both governments nevertheless maintain considerable coordination, particularly in the education and health sectors.Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2014, 14:04