Hamas vows to boycott Jerusalem talks
Gaza rulers stress ‘commitment to the unity of our people,’ says ‘the terms under which the panel will be held will not enable it to carry out a comprehensive political review
Gaza city: ham as said on saturday it would not participate in a meeting of Palestinian leaders to debate responses to the controversial US recognition of occupied 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 (PLO), the internationally recognised representative of the Palestinian people.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian 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 Mahmoud 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 oficials.
The meeting is due to discuss responses to US President Donald Trump’s Dec.6 recognition of occupiedjerusalem 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 ofice in Washington was briely threatened with closure. Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party signed a reconciliation agreement in October that was meant to see Hamas 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’s vast armed wing.
Hamas seized Gaza in 2007, forcing out Abbas’s forces in a near civil war.
It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and others.
Separately, the Egyptian navy opened ire on a Palestinian isherman at sea and killed him, the Gaza Ministry said on Saturday.
Egyptian oficials had no immediate comment on the incident which happened late on Friday after dark near the southern border-town Rafah, according to Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qidra.
It could not be conirmed whether the isherman was attempting to cross into Egyptian waters. Egyptian naval forces have previously opened ire on Gazans they accused of crossing the maritime border.
Fishermen from Gaza have often brought in catch from Egyptian territory to sidestep restrictions imposed by Israel’s naval blockade of the enclave, which Israel maintains citing security concerns. Gaza ishermen say that the limited ishing zone imposed by Israel is not big enough to meet demand of the coastal strip’s 2 million people.
Palestinians run for cover from smoke-grenades during clashes with Israeli security forces in Nabi Saleh, West Bank, on Saturday.