Daily Israel Report

Fatah Accuses Hamas of Stonewalling

The Fatah-Hamas row continues to simmer with Fatah demanding an apology ahead of talks with Hamas in Gaza City.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 1/11/2012, 9:26 PM

Abbas, Haniyeh
Abbas, Haniyeh
Flash 90

Fatah has charged Hamas is avoiding reconciliation because it is banking on being made stronger by a Muslim Brotherhood victory in Egypt's elections

Fatah official Tawfiq al-Tirawi s told Voice of Palestine radio on Wednesday that if the Brotherhood was elected in Egypt, "Hamas would consider the win its own victory."

Hamas, he said, believes a Muslim Brotherhood-led government on its border would bolster the movement and put it in a superior position to Fatah.

Meanwhile, Al-Tirawi said Fatah was reevaluating the reconciliation agreement it signed with Hamas last May in light of a failed visit to Gaza by four Fatah officials on Friday.

The Fatah delegation says Hamas border guards at Erez crossing refused to let the group enter the Gaza Strip and held the delegation for almost an hour, taking their identification cards.

Hamas says the Fatah officials refused to wait longer than 10 minutes, insulted its security officials and "cursed God" at the terminal.

"What happened is a shame on Hamas," al-Tirawi said.

"We hold Hamas responsible for what happened and demand that its officials apologize," he added.

Hamas rejected Fatah's previous demand to apologize, saying that Fatah delegate Sakher Bseso should apologize "to the whole Islamic nation" for having "cursed God." Besso denied the allegation.

The incident occured as PLO and Israeli officials met for an exploratory round of talks in Amman, Jordan - a move Hamas is strongly opposed to.

Al-Tirawi urged people to take to the streets and protest against Hamas for blocking national unity.

Observers say both sides, however, have a motive to use last Friday's incident as a pretext to scuttle talks.

Hamas objects to any contacts with Israel and believes the rise of Islamic parties during the Arab Spring has put it in a stronger position. Fatah, on the other hand, has little desire to go to polls for planned elections with Hamas surging in popularity.

Al-Tirawi's comments came just hours before planned meetings between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza City on Wednesday aimed at ameliorating tensions between the rival factions.