Fatah Furious After Hamas Officials Express Support for Direct Talks with US

Israel

Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90

Head of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh attends a groundbreaking ceremony for the Rafah Medical Complex in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 23, 2019.

A tweet published by Ibrahim Madhun, a journalist and a close associate of the Hamas leadership in the Strip Gaza, calling for direct talks between Hamas and the US has set off a storm in the Palestinian Authority (PA) in light of what appears to be more evidence of an American-Israeli plan to support the independent Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Madhun wrote Tuesday that talks with the US are necessary to divert American support from Israel and “secure the Palestinians’ rights,” and that Hamas should learn from important countries that work to establish ties with the US.

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His statement added fuel to the heated debate between PA and Hamas officials following the construction of the US-backed hospital near the Erez Crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. The PA strongly opposes the hospital’s establishment, claiming it could deepen the divide between the Gaza and the PA and give Hamas significant independent governmental capabilities.

Hassan Asfour, the important Gazan journalist, wrote Wednesday that Hamas’ explanations regarding the humanitarian need for another hospital in the Gaza Strip are a farce.

He claimed that an IDF hospital that was located on the border with Syria during the civil war in the country and which was relocated to the Gaza Strip in a suspicious location near the Israeli border is part of the US defense and intelligence system.

Asfour emphasized that the location of the hospital is “suspicious” because it was determined by Israel and the US, and he similarly cautioned that the US regularly promotes its security interests through various civilian organizations around the world.

He claimed that these developments are “the opening of a door to direct US-Hamas relations and the beginning of a campaign that will allow the establishment of a US-sponsored emirate in Gaza.”

Fatah has launched a number of campaigns aimed at ridiculing Hamas. For instance, it published altered photos of billboards in Gaza in which Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh appears to be thanking President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Ramallah officials have expressed opposition to the talks between Israel and Hamas which have been mediated by Egypt and to which the PA was not invited, and stressed that an agreement between Israel and Hamas could jeopardize the unification of the Gaza and PA territories.

Hamas’ recent decisions to participate in the upcoming elections in the PA and its avoidance of firing missiles at Israel after the assassination of the Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu Ata are also interpreted as a stage in the plan to support Hamas’ rule in Gaza, at Ramallah’s expense.

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