Khaled Mashaal
Khaled MashaalFlash 90

In yet another sign that the Hamas-Fatah unity government is crumbling, the head of Hamas’s politburo, Khaled Mashaal, said Monday that the Palestinian reconciliation "scene" was not satisfying, reports the Ma’an news agency.

Mashaal was quoted as having told the al-Risala newspaper that the "reconciliation scene is not satisfying and it is painful; this should prompt us and be a challenge to us because this is not a marginal subject."

"Recognizing the problem is necessary to push us toward the solution," Mashaal added.

He pointed out that the "external factor is basic in failing reconciliation, placing obstacles in its way and attempting to keep us in the division square; Israeli, external, international and some regional interventions work against Palestinian reconciliation."

As for internal politics, Mashaal said that "there is no rapture in relations with the Fatah movement; it is Hamas' partner in the fight and in the Palestinian political life."

"We are different in many cases but we maintain common relations, contact and action," Mashaal added.

Hamas does not seek a new war with Israel, he said, adding that previous wars were imposed on Hamas, but added that Hamas would not give up Palestinian rights no matter the cost.

The comments come two weeks after Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said that the six-month mandate of the unity government agreed on in April and established in June had ended.

He added that "national dialogue and consensus" should decide whether to break apart the government or change its members, adding Hamas "isn't interested in incitement, but rather seeks to maintain national unity."

Apparently a key factor to be resolved before the Hamas and Fatah iron out the issue is the bomb attacks on homes of Fatah leaders last month in Gaza, with around ten explosions coming just days ahead of a Fatah rally in memorial of former Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat that was cancelled after Hamas said it couldn't promise security.

Hamas denied responsibility for the attacks, although its statement that it couldn't guarantee security at the memorial in its own stronghold of Gaza was seen by many as an indirect admission of responsibility.

The most recent reconciliation attempt has been rocked by tensions, most notably Hamas's attempt to stage a violent coup in Judea and Samaria against the Palestinian Authority.

Despite the never-ending disagreements between the sides, Hamas and Fatah have been trying to present a united front to the world, claiming in October that the “division is over” after holding a full unity government cabinet meeting in Gaza.