Fayyad Drafts Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has drafted a plan to reconcile between rival Fatah and Hamas, which would include disarming Palestinian resistance groups, reported Haaretz on Friday, July 4.

The three-point plan envisages the dispatch of an Egyptian security delegation, and possibly a military force, to the Gaza Strip.

The delegation will act as an arbitrator between the two rival groups, said a source close the details of the plan.

The blueprint also stipulates the disarmament of the Palestinian resistance groups.

Under Fayyad’s plan, there will be no attempt to demand Palestinian groups to hand over arms, but they will be asked to pledge not to use their weapons.

The source said Fayyad believes that a ceasefire between Palestinians groups in Gaza and Israel makes it favorable to push for such a move.

An Egyptian-brokered truce took effect on June 19, between Palestinian groups in Gaza and Israel.

The truce calls for a halt of the rocket fire from Gaza in return for stopping Israeli aggressions in Gaza and easing its economic blockade on the strip, home to 1.6 million Palestinians.

The truce has been seen fragile as Israel continued its attacks in the West Bank with Palestinian groups in Gaza responding with barrages of rockets.

The Israeli army on Thursday closed border crossings to the Gaza Strip.

Under the truce deal, the crossings were scheduled to be opened last week to allow food, medicines and other basics to reach 1.6 million Gazans.

Israel has been closing the Gaza Strip’s exits to the outside world since June of last year and completely locked down the coastal territory since January, banning food and fuel shipment supplies.

Fayyad’s plan also calls for forming a transition government to run both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The government will include officials unaffiliated with Fatah and Hamas but will be acceptable to both parties.

The blueprint also envisages holding new presidential and parliamentary elections, to be agreed upon by both Hamas and Fatah.

Presidential elections are scheduled to take place in January while the parliamentary polls are due in two years.

Fatah and Hamas signed in March a Yemeni-brokered reconciliation deal to open their first direct talks since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip.

The initiative calls for a return to the status quo that existed in Gaza before Hamas routed security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last June.

It calls for the restoration of the national unity government in power before the Hamas’ takeover and for early elections.

But the deal has been deadlocked as the two groups differed on the interpretation of the deal’s provisions.

Tensions between Fatah and Hamas have mounted since Hamas swept parliamentary polls in January 2006.

The feud worsened amid a Western aid boycott of the Hamas-led government and boiled over into bloody fighting in December 2006.

The two groups agreed to share power in a Saudi-brokered deal in February 2007, with a coalition cabinet installed a month later.

But mutual distrust meant the cohabitation did not last long with the two groups engaging in bloody fighting that led to Hamas’ takeover and Abbas’s sacking of the unity government headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.
(IslamOnline.net and newspapers)

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