Ha­mas not to at­tend joint Palestinian Jerusalem meet

The Asian Age - - World -

The two- day meet­ing will bring to­gether the heads of the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Palestinian peo­ple Ha­mas and Is­lamic Ji­had, another Palestinian Is­lamist move­ment, were in­vited to at­tend de­spite not be­ing part of the PLO. Is­lamic Ji­had has also an­nounced it would not take part Ha­mas had been push­ing for the meet­ing to be held out­side the Palestinian ter­ri­to­ries Gaza City, Jan. 13: Is­lamist move­ment Ha­mas said Satur­day it would not par­tic­i­pate in a meet­ing of Palestinian lead­ers to de­bate re­sponses to the con­tro­ver­sial US recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal.

The de­ci­sion not to take part in the meet­ing to be­gin late Sun­day is a fur­ther set­back to fail­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ef­forts be­tween lead­ing Palestinian fac­tions.

“We have taken the de­ci­sion not to par­tic­i­pate in the meet­ing of the ( Palestinian) Cen­tral Coun­cil in Ra­mal­lah,” Ha­mas said in a state­ment, how­ever stress­ing its “com­mit­ment to the unity of our peo­ple”.

“The con­di­tions un­der which the com­mit­tee will be held will not en­able it to carry out a com­pre­hen­sive and re­spon­si­ble po­lit­i­cal re­view, and will pre­vent de­ci­sions that reach the level of our as­pi­ra­tions.”

The two- day meet­ing will bring to­gether the heads of the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Palestinian peo­ple.

Ha­mas and Is­lamic Ji­had, another Palestinian Is­lamist move­ment, were in­vited to at­tend de­spite not be­ing part of the PLO. Is­lamic Ji­had has also an­nounced it would not take part.

Ha­mas, which runs the Gaza Strip, had been push­ing for the meet­ing to be held out­side the Palestinian ter­ri­to­ries but Palestinian pres­i­dent Mah­mud Ab­bas de­cided in­stead to host it in Ra­mal­lah, the base of his gov­ern­ment in the West Bank.

The Ha­mas state­ment said this left them sub­ject to the “pres­sures” of Is­rael, which oc­cu­pies the West Bank and reg­u­larly ar­rests Ha­mas of­fi­cials.

The meet­ing is due to dis­cuss re­sponses to US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s De­cem­ber 6 recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal.

The de­ci­sion in­fu­ri­ated Palestinian lead­ers, who see at least the east of the city as the cap­i­tal of a fu­ture Palestinian state.

Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has also not pub­licly com­mit­ted to the idea of an in­de­pen­dent Palestinian state, and the PLO of­fice in Wash­ing­ton was briefly threat­ened with clo­sure.

Ha­mas and Ab­bas’ Fatah party signed a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion agree­ment in Oc­to­ber that was meant to see the Is­lamists hand over con­trol of Gaza by the end of the year.

The talks have how­ever bro­ken down, with dis­putes over the fate of tens of thou­sands of Ha­mas civil ser­vants and the fu­ture of Ha­mas’ vast armed wing.

Ha­mas seized Gaza in 2007, forc­ing out Ab­bas’ forces in a near civil war.

It has fought three wars with Is­rael since 2008 and is con­sid­ered a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion by the Jewish State, the United States and oth­ers.

Ha­mas was founded in 1987, soon af­ter the First In­tifada broke out, as an off­shoot of the Egyp­tian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, which in its Gaza branch had been non-con­fronta­tion al to­wards Is­rael, re­frained from re­sis­tance, and was hos­tile to the PLO.

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