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Hamas and Fatah both claim commitment to China’s mediation for reconciliation 

June 25, 2024 at 9:52 am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in the Occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on October 24, 2023 [Christophe Ena/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

The Hamas and Fatah movements both said on Monday that they are committed to the success of China’s mediation to achieve Palestinian reconciliation. The separate comments followed an exchange of accusations between the movements, with each claiming that the other is trying to hinder the expanded national dialogue agreement, which was scheduled to be held yesterday in Beijing.

“We responded to the call of our friends in China regarding achieving Palestinian national unity, and we engaged with it with great positivity and responsibility,” said Hossam Badran, the head of the Hamas National Relations Office. “The steps of this call were clear from the beginning: the first meeting was bilateral between Hamas and Fatah, which is what took place in April, to be followed by an expanded meeting that includes the Palestinian factions which was supposed to take place [on Monday].”

He pointed out that as the delegations prepared to travel, the Palestinian Authority President [Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the head of Fatah] contacted the Chinese and informed them that they refuse to participate in the expanded meeting. “He provided no logical justification for this,” claimed Badran.

The Hamas official expressed his “regret” over this position. “This was an obstruction to reaching a national consensus at a sensitive and critical stage that our people are experiencing, and in light of the Al-Aqsa Flood battle [which began on 7 October], during which our people are presenting an ideal image of steadfastness and determination.”

Hamas, he stressed, insists on the importance of holding the expanded national meeting. “Everyone has the right to participate in discussing the mechanisms for putting the Palestinian house in order. Disrupting the expanded meeting in Beijing is unjustified and unacceptable, and does not serve the greater interest of the Palestinian people.”

Meanwhile, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Fatah expressed its “great appreciation” for the Chinese efforts to host the national dialogue between the Fatah and Hamas movements in the Republic of China. “Fatah wants to ensure the success of the valued Chinese efforts,” said the movement. “We hold Hamas responsible for the failure of all previous dialogues.”

Regarding the news about Abbas declining the invitation to go to Beijing, Fatah reiterated that it remains “committed” to sitting at the national dialogue table in China. “We are working to complete all preparations in order to provide the appropriate climate for the success of the Chinese mediation, which is appreciated and respected by our leadership and people.”

At the end of April, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lin Jian said that the Palestinian factions met in Beijing under Chinese mediation, without specifying the time of the meetings. She explained that the Palestinian parties held “an in-depth and sincere dialogue and expressed their will to achieve a political consensus through dialogue and consultation.” Some “encouraging progress was made on many issues,” as well as an agreement to “continue dialogue to ensure the achievement of Palestinian unity as soon as possible.”

The Hamas-Fatah meeting in Beijing followed a similar meeting in Moscow in February.

The Palestinian arena has been suffering from political and geographical division since 2006, when Hamas won the legislative election and formed the government. Fatah, along with Israel, the US and most European states, refused to accept the result of the election which had been declared by foreign observers to be “free and fair”. Abbas continued to run the PA based in Ramallah, while Hamas ran the authority’s institutions in the Gaza Strip, even though Fatah ordered civil servants in the enclave to stay at home on full pay and refuse to work in the Hamas-led administration.

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