Hamas and Fatah continued their conflict in a verbal to-and-fro on Sunday, expressing different views on Egypt’s position as sponsor of reconciliation talks and each accusing the other side of blocking the reconciliation process.
Senior Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayaa has said that the Islamist movement is not considering a move away from Egyptian sponsorship of Palestinian reconciliation efforts.
“Hamas is not considering changing Egyptian sponsorship of reconciliation; if Egypt is capable, has the time and is ready, so are we,” said Al-Hayaa in an interview on Sunday, according to Hamas’ official website.
Al-Hayaa, a member of the Islamic Resistance Movement’s political bureau, reiterated that the group is committed to reconciliation, saying: “Let us embark on what we agreed upon under the auspices of Egypt and the latter will certainly give its blessing to it.”
Azzam Al-Ahmad, member of Fatah and the Palestinian Legislative Council, also speaking on Sunday, said that it is not right for Hamas to decide if Egypt should sponsor reconciliation talks or not, according to state run news agency MENA.
Hamas, the ruling power in the Gaza strip, and Fatah, the ruling party in the West Bank, have been in a state of conflict since the former’s 2006 legislative victory. The period following the elections saw factional fighting between the two Palestinian political groups and they are yet to fully reconcile their differences, an issue that the Egyptian foreign ministry has cited as one of the barriers hindering peace talks with Israel.
Al-Hayaa said that reconciliation efforts have stalled because of the “gamble” taken by Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas “on United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan”, a reference to the ongoing US sponsored final status negotiations between the PA and Israel.
On the other hand, Hamas has displayed “unwillingness… to implement what has been agreed upon”, reported MENA.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unavailable for comment on the issue.
An Egyptian court decided last week to ban the activities of Hamas inside Egypt, ordering the seizure of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate’s offices.
Relations between Hamas and Cairo have deteriorated rapidly since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. During Morsi’s presidency, relations with Hamas strengthened, with the former president ordering aid to be sent to Gaza as well as facilitating the delivery of aid from Qatar.