Many forces are working against Palestinian national reconciliation, not least Israel, the head of Hamas’ in the Gaza Strip has warned.
“Unfortunately, there are many forces that do not wants to move the reconciliation matter forward. The first of these forces is the occupation because it is satisfied with the state of division, which does not form a large burden on the occupation,” Yahya Sinwar told journalists in Gaza.
“There has been a great openness with all the Palestinian factions, especially the resistance factions, and we are continuously holding meetings to develop a deeper relationship,” he continued.
As a result, Palestinian factions in Gaza “have reached advanced levels of coordination in many fields”.
He added that “there are forces which are pulling us back,” pointing out that “these parties have tried to prevent any progress in the reconciliation matter.”
We have made concessions, dissolved the administrative committee, handed over the crossings and tax, and allowed a large number of former PA employees to return to work.
Sinwar stated that the situation has gotten worse on 13 March, after the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Major General Majid Faraj in Gaza. The aim behind this was to weaken Hamas’ negotiating position during reconciliation talks, he explained.
“The [Palestinian] Authority did not help us with the investigations we have been carrying. We were willing to form a national, Arab or even international commission in order to contribute in investigating the bombing of the convoy of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, which hindered reconciliation. The result was that the reconciliation was suspended.”
So far, he continued, “there are no specific clauses or terms for reconciliation, and there may be something within two months about easing the siege. We will only accept the lifting of the siege.”
He implied that recent reconciliation talks in Egypt have reached a dead end after “Fatah refused the Egyptian paper” setting out details for the settlement leading to a “sharp and stormy” encounter between officials from the two governments.