RAMALLAH, March 28, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / Ma’an News Agency) — There has yet to be a response from Hamas following a meeting between party members and President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, member of the Fatah central committee Nabil Sha’th told Ma’an.
Despite the positive sentiments exchanged, Sha’th said Monday, “Abbas is still waiting for the official response.”
Abbas, who leads the Fatah party, met with Hamas officials to discuss a proposed trip to Gaza and efforts to mend internal Palestinian division by way of the formation of a unity government.
Protests by Palestinian youth organizations which began on 14 March, demanded that leaders make real steps toward unity, prompting Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh to invite Abbas to Gaza for the re-launch of a unity effort.
Abbas on 16 March that he would accept the invitation, but only if he was going to Gaza to sign an agreement, adding that he would not go only for a new round of talks. Hamas officials said the suggestion amounted to impossible preconditions, adding that real discussions were necessary to ensure an enduring agreement.
The Saturday meeting, of which little is substantively known, was said to have been positive.
Sha’th echoed the praise of the meeting in his Monday statement, adding that Abbas would consider entering Gaza through the Rafah crossing in Egypt, of Israel refused to allow him access via the Erez crossing.
Israel’s prime minister has said that Abbas could choose between unity with Hamas and peace with Israel, and condemned the reunification of the Palestinian political sphere.
Since 2007, Hamas has run the government in the Gaza Strip, while the West Bank government has been controlled by Fatah. In 2006 Hamas won legislative elections, but was boycotted by much of the international community. Without international support the government folded, resulting in the creation of a unity government in early 2007, which collapsed amid infighting which neared the dimensions of a civil war. (*)