A spokesman for Fatah's Central Committee claimed on Wednesday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is being subjected to "intense pressure" to return to negotiations with Israel. Such pressure is being inflicted, said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, even though Israel is still refusing to implement its obligations, such as a freeze on settlement activities in the territories occupied in 1967.
The faction's Central Committee, therefore, declared that it rejects all such pressure unless Israel relents on the conditions, including the release of Palestinian political prisoners. The statement was made following a meeting chaired by Abbas who not only heads the Palestinian Authority but also Fatah and the PLO.
Fatah called upon US Secretary of State John Kerry to exert pressure on the Israeli government to fulfil its obligations in accordance with signed agreements so that a real and feasible peace process can be launched. The group's statement noted that Abbas has given Israel plenty of time and opportunity to save the peace process. It threatened unspecified "alternative options" if Israel still refuses to work towards a two-state solution.
With regards to the proposed national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the committee stressed the importance of unity and new presidential and legislative council elections. It called for all obstacles in the path of such important steps to be removed, as "there is no salvation for the Palestinian people from the Israeli occupation" without national unity.
"Fatah calls on Hamas to implement what has been agreed upon, to stop engaging with side issues that enter the Palestinian people and the national cause in conflicts that harm our ultimate national interests, to stay away from interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, and to add its efforts to the efforts of the rest of Palestinian forces and factions to put the Palestinian house in order and achieve national unity."
A senior Hamas official pointed out this week that the Palestinian Authority run by Mahmoud Abbas has arrested 120 opposition activists this month already, including Hamas affiliates, and more than 15,000 since 2007. "That," said International Relations chief Osama Hamdan, "does not reflect any serious intention towards national reconciliation."