Fatah and Ha­mas agree deal on joint op­po­si­tion

The Irish Times - - World News - MICHAEL JANSEN

Pales­tinian ri­vals Fatah and Ha­mas have reached a land­mark agree­ment to mount uni­fied re­sis­tance to Is­rael’s West Bank an­nex­a­tion plan, as well as tor­pedo the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Mid­dle East peace plan.

Ahead of the deal’s an­nounce­ment, Pales­tinian pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas wel­comed the ef­fort to se­cure na­tional unity, al­though it could mean a re­turn to vi­o­lent re­sis­tance, which he re­nounced on tak­ing of­fice in 2005.

At a vir­tual joint press con­fer­ence, Ra­mal­lah-based sec­re­tary-gen­eral of Fatah’s cen­tral com­mit­tee Jib­ril Ra­joub ex­pressed the ri­vals’ de­ter­mi­na­tion to “speak in a sin­gle voice”, stage “pop­u­lar re­sis­tance in which ev­ery­one par­tic­i­pates”, and to “put in place all nec­es­sary mea­sures to en­dure na­tional unity” in the cam­paign against Is­rael’s planned an­nex­a­tion of 30 per cent of the West Bank, which has been given the green light by the US.

Speak­ing from ex­ile in Beirut, Ha­mas’s West Bank leader Saleh al-Arouri said: “All the con­tro­ver­sial is­sues on which we dif­fer, we will set those aside . . . We and Fatah and all the Pales­tinian fac­tions are fac­ing an ex­is­ten­tial threat, and we must work to­gether.”

Ha­mas, he said, would use all forms of strug­gle and re­sis­tance against the an­nex­a­tion project. Ev­ery Pales­tinian “is a sol­dier in this work, each in his own way, whether a jour­nal­ist, a politi­cian, a diplo­mat, or an in­fantry­man”. A found­ing com­man­der of Ha­mas’s mil­i­tary wing, Mr Arouri has a $5 mil­lion US bounty on his head for al­legedly or­gan­is­ing at­tacks on Is­raelis in the West Bank.

An­nex­a­tion

Sug­gest­ing that for Fatah the time for peace­ful co-ex­is­tence had passed, Mr Ra­joub, a long­stand­ing mil­i­tant, said: “We will not raise a white flag, we will not give up. All the op­tions are open if the Is­raelis start the an­nex­a­tion and slam the door on the two-state so­lu­tion.”

He said the form of “pop­u­lar re­sis­tance” adopted would de­pend on Is­rael. “In­tifada [up­ris­ing] for us is a means, the goal is to end the oc­cu­pa­tion.”

Since Mr Ab­bas has sus­pended se­cu­rity co-op­er­a­tion with Is­rael, the deal could mean Fatah, Ha­mas and oth­ers will no longer be reined in by Pales­tinian in­tel­li­gence and po­lice.

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