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Hamas and Fatah should talk
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16:16, July 04, 2007

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Last Saturday, Hamas leader, Ismail Haniya, visited the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat's, residence and called on Arafat's wife to express his good intentions for Fatah. On Friday, during his visit to France, however; Palestinian National Authority President and Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, said that he was determined to isolate Hamas. This decision indicates that Fatah has not forgiven Hamas for forcibly taking over the Gaza Strip.

Why does Hamas now call for dialogue with Fatah?

First of all, Hamas hopes to change its state of isolation. Since it forcibly gained control of the Gaza Strip, the UN, U.S., EU, Russia and many other countries, have expressed their support for Fatah's leader Abbas and his emergency government. Thus, Hamas is truly isolated now. Secondly, it hopes to obtain assistance in alleviating difficulties in Gaza. Hamas forcibly drove off Fatah quickly, but it also took over responsibility for the 1.5 million people in Gaza. Gaza's people cannot live without international assistance or the cooperation of Israel. Hamas is neither a legitimate receiver of the assistance, nor does it communicate with Israel.

Why did Fatah refuse dialogue with Hamas?

There are also two reasons for this. First, Fatah would like to take any opportunity to weaken Hamas' strength. Hamas has fought with Fatah for many years, and last January, won the election against Fatah. It failed to win international support, even though it was considered the first revolution. Recently, it also drove Fatah from the Gaza Strip-what is considered to be the second revolution. Fatah is using its status of victimization to win support and sympathy from the international community, a so it can isolate Hamas in Gaza. As Hamas faces various difficulties, it might gradually lose support from the public and use up all its strength. Second, it would like to gain strength. After this blitzkrieg coup, Fatah was substantially weakened. It needs to get rid of Hamas influence in Gaza and ascertain its own advantage in the area.

However, now the problem is that refusing dialogue is not good for the Palestinian people. If Hamas occupies the Gaza Strip for a long time and maintains the current division, a unified Palestinian state cannot be established. Fatah's historic mission cannot be fulfilled. The people of Palestine are against the brutal fighting among its brothers and sisters and support dialogue and compromise; while other Arab nations also do not agree with the conflict there. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan cannot sit idly. Largely, due to their help, Hamas and Fatah reached the Mecca agreement in February of this year, and formed the Palestinian coalition government. Now Hamas has taken unilateral action in taking over Gaza. This has angered neighboring countries. Egypt even ordered its diplomatic residence in Gaza to move to the West, in support of Abbas and Fatah.

However, after this unrest, Arab leaders still hope that Fatah and Hamas can resolve their dispute through dialogue. Last week, Egypt hosted a summit of four parties in Shalm El-Sheih, inviting Jordan's King Abudulah II, Israeli Prime Minister Erhud Olmart, and Fatah leader, Abbas. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak proposed a dialogue between the two factions in Palestine. Hamas responded to the proposal positively. Later, Mubarak also met with Saudi King, Abudulah Ben Abdul Aziz, President Saleh of Yemen, Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora, and Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi. They all supported the proposal of holding a dialogue between Fatah and Hamas.

Now, now the key lies in the joint efforts made by both Palestinian parties. Only until both Fatah and Hamas have cooled down and resumed dialogue, will the situation in Palestine improve.

By People's Daily Online

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