The leaders of the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas are meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo for national reconciliation talks. A spokesman for President Morsi said that before Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshaal have their meeting, representatives of the groups will meet with the head of Egyptian intelligence.
The director of the Palestinian Study Centre in Cairo, Ibrahim Al-Dirawi, confirmed that the formation of an interim national unity government was on the agenda. According to a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, however, the main aim of Meshaal’s visit is to thank the Egyptian presidency for its “honourable position” during Israel’s November offensive against Gaza.
A political aide of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, meanwhile, expressed his hope that the Cairo talks will be successful. “National reconciliation based on the real involvement of all Palestinian factions is a project that has been expected by all Palestinians,” said Yousof Rezqa. He affirmed that the Palestinian government in Gaza is doing its best to make such reconciliation feasible, citing the Fatah celebration permitted by the government in Gaza last week as an example. Another goodwill gesture, he said, was the fact that Fatah members are being allowed to return to Gaza, and several prisoners have been released despite being convicted of a number of crimes.
In the occupied West Bank, however, security officers of the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority detained Hafez Al-Komi, a Hamas member from Hebron. Al-Komi is a former prisoner who spent two years in Israeli jails. Another five Hamas members from Hebron, Qalqilya and Ramallah were also served with summonses by the security services.
Elected Hamas Palestine Legislative Council member Mona Mansour said that there is no “real freedom” in the West Bank. “Permission to celebrate the Hamas anniversary was followed by a wave of detentions of Hamas members who took part in the celebrations,” Mansour said in a statement. She confirmed that there is an ongoing PA detention policy against Hamas members in the West Bank. “Such detention is a blow to all goodwill gestures preceding the expected national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.”