Fatah Official: Reconciliation with Hamas 'Soon'
Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad said Wednesday that impromptu talks with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal in Cairo led him to believe "reconciliation talks" would begin "soon."
Al-Ahmad, who heads the Fatah delegation in talks with Hamas, told reporters after the meeting was arranged at the last minute as the officials happened to be in the Egyptian capital.
According to al-Ammad, Mashaal phoned Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and expressed his full support for Abbas' statehood bid at the United Nations in September.
al-Ahmad also claimed Mashal congratulated Abbas on his speech to the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 23 saying it represented all of the 'Palestinian people.'
But observers were skeptical noting Hamas had withheld support for Abbas' bid, loudly criticized it as a unilateral move taken without their consent, and banned rallies in Gaza supporting it.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum previously insisted Hamas leadership in Damascus and Gaza were united in rejecting the UN initiative.
"Hamas confirms the credibility of its leaders, as we all adopt the same stance and stress the same issues," Barhoum told the semi-official PA news outlet Maan earlier this month.
Abbas' statehood bid at the United Nations "is not in line with the national consensus," Barhoum had added.
Additionally, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has repeatedly said Abbas should not "beg for a state" and that his bid would "harm Palestinian rights."
Hamas maintains that the path to an independent state is through 'resistance' and that any peace accords with Israel will only serve as a prelude to war.
Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from Fatah in an armed putsch in 2007, but on May 4 of this year officials from the feuding movements signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo.
The agreement set out a path for the creation of a transitional unity government to end to years of bitter rivalry remains deadlocked amid financial crisis and internecine infighting.
Israeli security experts have expressed concern the recent deal with Hamas to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 terrorists will make Hamas ascendant over Fatah.
This, in turn, has fueled long-held concerns a PA state forged in Judea and Samaria would simply become a Gaza-like Hamas enclave used as a base of operations against not only Israel, but Jordan as well.
Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, an arm of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that spawned Hamas, has been active in fomenting unrest aimed at destabilizing the Hashemite Monarchy.