"I won't take part in any such meeting," Abu Za'ida said last night, accusing Israel of "murdering" Arabs in Gaza. Israeli air strikes over this past weekend, in retaliation for ongoing Kassam rocket strikes at Israel, killed at least 14, including at least 12 terrorists.
The meeting reported by Maariv was to take place early next month in Morocco between Ayalon and PLO figures Yasser Abed Rabbo, Ziyad Abu Ziyad, and Abu Za'ida.
Meanwhile, Hamas is attempting to prevent any Israeli attempt to detour Hamas and speak directly with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) or other PLO leaders. So reports Arab affairs analyst Dalit HaLevy.
Hamas has defined the PLO as its next target for political takeover, demanding elections throughout what the Arabs call the "Palestinian diaspora." This would mean elections in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere, where Hamas feels it has very strong support. A victory in these elections would help Hamas attain positions currently held by PLO figures, such as the observer post in the United Nations, membership in international organizations, material assets, and the like.
A Hamas leader-in-exile, Mousa Abu Marzuk, declared recently that the PLO's institutions have essentially stopped working. "The PLO can no longer represent the Palestinian nation until real reforms are carried out within it," he said.
Hamas also demands that the PLO nullify all agreements it has made with Israel in the past. Abu Marzuk said that Hamas will never accept any agreement made between Israel and Abu Mazen.
"If Abu Mazen reaches a diplomatic agreement that is opposed to our principles," Abu Marzuk said, "we will come out against him." The reference is to any agreement that does not force a full withdrawal upon Israel and a complete 'right of return' for all Arabs who left Israel over the past 58 years.