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

The Gulf Today - - MIDDLE EAST -

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.

Agence France-presse

Pales­tini­ans run for cover from smoke-grenades dur­ing clashes with Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces in Nabi Saleh, West Bank, on Satur­day.

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