At­tack on Al-Ham­dal­lah aimed at de­rail­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion talks

Blast will scar re­la­tions be­tween Fatah and Ha­mas

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL - DAOUD KUT­TAB

AMMAN: The failed as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt against the Pales­tinian prime min­is­ter on Tues­day had one tar­get — in­ter­nal Pales­tinian rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

The small ex­plo­sive and the shots fired at the con­voy, that also in­cluded the head of the Pales­tinian in­tel­li­gence, Ma­jed Far­raj, has sent po­lit­i­cal shock waves through­out the Pales­tinian po­lit­i­cal map. It was a crude re­minder of an at­tempt against Pres­i­dent Ab­bas in 2007. At the time the pres­i­dent's se­cu­rity of­fi­cers un­cov­ered four large ex­plo­sive de­vices that were in­tended to kill Ab­bas.

Omar Kul­lab, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst in Jor­dan of Gazan ori­gin, told Arab News that the best re­sponse to the at­tempt on the prime min­is­ter's life, is to move ahead with rec­on­cil­i­a­tion talks.

“We don't know who is be­hind it. It might be the Is­raelis or ISIS (Daesh), but I doubt it is Ha­mas. Nev­er­the­less, I think that the at­ti­tude of Prime Min­is­ter (Rami) Ham­dal­lah is the cor­rect one, namely to move even faster ahead with the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ef­forts.”

But the at­tack puts Ha­mas un­der the spot­light at a time when the ter­ri­tory they rule is suf­fer­ing one of the worst eco­nomic and hu­man­i­tar­ian pe­ri­ods since the Is­raeli block­ade be­gan.

Na­hed Abo Tueima, a lec­turer on gen­der is­sues at Bir Zeit Univer­sity, near Ra­mal­lah, be­lieves that Ha­mas, as the party in charge of se­cu­rity in Gaza, is re­spons­bile for what hap­pened un­der its watch.

“Ha­mas claims that it has a strong se­cu­rity force in Gaza and there­fore it is fully re­spon­si­ble for what hap­pens.” Tueima, who was born in Gaza, told Arab News. “It needs to al­low for joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion in or­der to un­cover who ex­actly is be­hind what hap­pened.”

Annes Swei­dan, head of the ex­ter­nal de­part­ment in the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, also feels Ha­mas has to be held re­spon­si­ble. “They can't shake off their re­spon­si­bil­ity even if they didn't do it. The rec­on­cil­i­a­tion will cer­tainly be neg­a­tively af­fected by the at­tack,” Swei­dan told Arab News.

But re­gard­less of the mo­tive or who is be­hind the at­tack, there is no doubt that the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza is very vo­latile and needs close at­ten­tion. Kul­lab, the Jor­da­nian-Pales­tinian an­a­lyst, be­lieves that the tim­ing of the at­tack is not co­in­ci­den­tal. “It hap­pened on the same day that a meet­ing is due to take place in the White House to talk about the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza.

The tim­ing of the at­tack is not in­no­cent, but is meant to send some kind of mes­sage to Ra­mal­lah and Wash­ing­ton,' Kul­lab told Arab News.

Ha­madeh Faraneh, a mem­ber of the Pales­tinian Na­tional Coun­cil, told Arab News that Pales­tinian lead­ers should not de­vi­ate from their goal. “The rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is of ut­most im­por­tance for the na­tional in­ter­est of the Pales­tinian peo­ple and it must be pur­sued no mat­ter what hap­pened.”

But de­spite all the brave talk, the at­tack on the con­voy of Pales­tinian lead­ers from Ra­mal­lah, deep in the Gaza Strip, will leave its scars for a long time to come.

The at­tack is sure to de­lay the visit by Pres­i­dent Ab­bas to Gaza fur­ther. The pres­i­dent had promised to come once the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is to­tally in ef­fect and the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion is sta­ble.

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