Hamas signals post-war ambition in talks with Palestinian rival Fatah

Deep divisions will limit progress at reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah this month, Hamas signals conversations with five sources in the groups indicate, but the meetings highlight that the militant group is likely to retain influence after Israel’s war in Gaza. The talks between Hamas and the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held in China in mid-June, according to officials from both sides. They follow two recent rounds of reconciliation talks, one in China and one in Russia. China’s foreign ministry declined to comment. hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol hol smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc

The next meeting held amid attempts by international mediators to reach a ceasefire deal for Gaza, with one of the key sticking points the “day-after” plan – how the enclave governed.

Considered a terrorist organisation by many Western nations, Hamas shunned long before its Oct 7 attacks killed 1,200 people in Israel, with more than 250 hostages taken, triggering the war in Gaza.

But even as it pummelled militarily, the meetings of Hamas politicians with officials from the Fatah party that controls Palestinian politics in the Israeli-occupied West Bank point to the group’s aim of shaping the post-war order in the Palestinian territories, according to a source familiar with conversations within Hamas.

The person, like other unnamed officials in this story, declined to be named because they weren’t authorised to discuss sensitive matters with the media.

Hamas, which ruled Gaza before the war, recognises it cannot be part of any internationally recognised new government of the Palestinian territories when fighting in the enclave eventually ends, said the source.

Nonetheless, it wants Fatah to agree to a new technocratic administration for the West Bank and Gaza as part of a wider political deal, the source and senior Hamas official Basim Naim said.

“We are speaking about political partnership and political unity to restructure the Palestinian entity,” Naim, who attended the previous round of China talks, said in an interview.

“Whether Hamas is in the government or outside it, that is not a prime demand of the movement and it doesn’t see it a condition for any reconciliation,” he said. Naim, like much of Hamas’ political leadership, operates in exile outside of Gaza.

The prospect of Hamas signals surviving as an influential political player is a thorny issue for Western states.

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Gaza war goal of destroying the Iran-backed group, most observers agree Hamas will exist in some form after a ceasefire. An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement has deep reach and ideological roots in Palestinian society.

The United States and EU oppose any role for Hamas in governing Gaza after the war, during which Israel’s offensive has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry.

Still, some US officials have privately expressed doubt Israel will eradicate the group. A senior US official said on May 14 Washington thought it unlikely Israel could achieve “total victory”.

Killing every member of Hamas was unrealistic and was not the goal of the Israeli army, but destroying Hamas as a governing authority was “an achievable and attainable military objective,” said Peter Lerner, a spokesperson for Israel’s military.

Western states support the idea of post-war Gaza  run by a revamped Palestinian Authority (PA), the administration led by Abbas that has limited self-rule over patches of the West Bank. Based in Ramallah, the PA broadly acknowledged globally as representing the Palestinians and receives security assistance from the United States and the EU.

Led by Abbas, and before him Yasser Arafat, Fatah was the undisputed leader of the Palestinian cause for decades until the rise of Hamas, an Islamist movement.

The PA also ran Gaza until 2007, when Hamas drove Fatah from the enclave, a year after defeating Fatah in parliamentary elections – the last time Palestinians voted.

FILE PHOTO: People hold Fatah flags during a protest in support of the people of Gaza, as the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, October 27, 2023. REUTERS/Mussa…see more
Despite the talks, the factions’ enmity means odds remain low for a deal to reunite the administration of the Palestinian territories, the conversations with the five sources indicated, a view echoed by four experts.

“My expectations of rapprochement are minimal or less,” said Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center.

The post Hamas signals post-war ambition in talks with Palestinian rival Fatah appeared first on The Muslim News.

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