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Hamas meets with Egyptian leadership

Hamas meets with Egyptian leadership

 

March 31, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — A delegation of Hamas led by Mahmoud Zahar has met with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which received power in Egypt following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, as well as several political forces and Egyptian parties and a number of youth behind the Jan. 25 revolution, AL QASSAM WEBSITE reported on Thursday.

They congregated at the headquarters of the Egyptian Wafd party.

Discussions with the Supreme Council focused on bilateral relations, Palestinian reconciliation, the Gaza siege and opening the Rafah crossing on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. They also discussed the Palestinians still being held in Egyptian prisons.

The tour, which began a day earlier as Hamas visited the new Egyptian foreign minister Nabil al-Arabi, was concluded with a visit to the Wafd party president El-Sayyid el-Badawi yesterday afternoon.

Badawi confirmed that the Israeli-Arab conflict has been an Egyptian issue since the beginning of its history.

He added that he has confirmed the right of the Palestinians during meetings with the assistant US secretary of state and US ambassador to Cairo, delegations from the European Union and more.

Zahar confirmed during the discussions that the conflict with Fatah is between those who want resistance against the occupation and those who believe that peace can win back even less than 22 per cent of the land. But Hamas, he said, has agreed to reach its hand out to Fatah to meet the demands of the Arabs. (*)

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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in World News

 

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In Cairo, Hamas calls for open crossings

 

 

GAZA CITY, March 29, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — A delegation of Hamas leaders from Gaza are in Cairo this week, and told reporters at a news conference at the Press Syndicate office Tuesday that the party did not seek to interfere with Egyptian security, as reported by MA’AN NEWS AGENCY.

The strength of Cairo is strength for the Palestinian cause, Hamas politburo member Mahmoud Zahhar told journalists, saying his visit was aimed at assuring the interim Egyptian leadership that the Gaza government supported their cause.

“The winner is resistance,” when Egypt is secure, Zahhar said.

He told reporters that the had a series of meetings with Egyptian intelligence officials, and would meet with the new Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi later in the week.

“Important changes have begun,” he said of the events in Egypt since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, saying the development of a new constitution and preparation for elections would “re-draw the regional policies” of the country, remarking that already Al-Arabi had warned Israel not to attack Gaza, during the recent escalation in border violence.

Zahhar said his main point of discussion with Al-Arabi would be the current efforts toward Palestinian reconciliation, saying that Hamas officials had concluded an internal dialogue and “reached a unified position” on how to achieve reconciliation.

Most importantly, he continued, was the discussion he expected to press with Al-Arabi, on how to end the siege on Gaza, and secure the opening of the Gaza crossings for the free passage of goods and people.  (*)

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in World News

 

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No Arab diplomats to accompany Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza visit: official

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

PALESTINE, March 29, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / PEOPLE DAILY ONLINE / XINHUA) — A Palestinian official on Monday said no Arab diplomats would accompany President Mahmoud Abbas when he visits the Gaza Strip to seek an end to Palestinian division.
 

“We have discussed some of these ideas but they have not been developed into decisions or agreement,” said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Executive Committee.

Local media reported earlier that Abbas told members of the executive committee that the head of the Arab League (AL) and the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) would go to Gaza with him.

Abbas’ visit would be his first time to set foot in Gaza since the Islamic Hamas movement routed his forces and ousted his Fatah party in June 2007.

Responding to public pressure in mid-March, the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haneya, invited Abbas to come to Gaza to resume national dialogue and reach a reconciliation based on sharing power.   (*)

 

Source: Xinhua

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in World News

 

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Fatah: President Abbas awaiting Hamas response

 

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.  (*)

 

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in World News

 

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Israeli Commander of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Russo : "Hamas has lost control of Gaza Strip !"

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz meet with IDF officials, March 25, 2011."

 

 

Israel, March 27, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — According to Commander of Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Russo, Hamas is fighting for power over other organizations in the Gaza Strip. On Sat. evening (Mar. 26) two Qassam rockets hit Israel, IDF Website reported.

Commander of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Russo, stated that, “Hamas has lost control of other organizations within the Gaza Strip. There is anarchy among them and within Hamas itself. There’s no authority over any facet and it’s difficult for Hamas to regain control.”

Maj. Gen. Russo made the statement in a visit to the Eshkol Regional Council where a Qassam rocket fell on Saturday night (Mar. 26), causing serious damage to the house it landed on.

According to Galatz (Army Radio) Maj. Gen. Russo added that, “Hamas’ power is waning since Operation Cast Lead and its memory of the operation fading. I hope it regains its composure soon.”

When asked about the possibility of another operation in the Gaza Strip he explained, “It depends on the other side. We are trying to enable residents of southern communities to live as normally as possible.”

In the backdrop, news from the Gaza Strip said Hamas can no longer enforce its authority over other organizations continuing to fire at Israel, despite the organization’s claims that it is trying to stop the firing.

On Saturday night two Qassam rockets were fired into Israel. One of these rockets, as stated earlier, caused serious damage to a private home in the Eshkol Regional Council. An additional rocket fell in an open territory causing no injury or damage.

GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo

GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo : “There is anarchy in Gaza”

As reported by Israeli media HAARETZ on Saturday (27/3/2011),  GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo said Saturday that Gaza is in anarchy, warning that neither Hamas nor any other group is in control of the area.

Russo made the comments during a visit to the western Negev home which was badly damaged from a Qassam strike overnight, following recent cross-border escalation between Israel and Gaza.

“There is anarchy in Gaza, inside Hamas and inside the other [militant] organizations. No group exerts control there. It’s difficult for Hamas to turn back the clock,” said Russo.

Asked if the IDF would launch a large ‘Operation Cast Lead 2’ type of military operation in Gaza as a response, Russo said that it is not dependent upon Israel but upon the other side. “We are trying to afford citizens of the south normal lives, and these aren’t exactly normal lives,” he said. “We will bring these citizens peace and quiet. That is our aim.”

Russo added, “The situation has eroded since Cast Lead. The other side is starting to get forgetful. I hope that they get a hold of themselves.”

A Qassam rocket landed and exploded outside a family home in the Eshkol Regional Council in the western Negev region overnight Friday. No casualties were reported as a result of the rocket, but the family home suffered considerable damage.

A second rocket fell in an open field nearby, causing no damage to people or property.

The rocket attacks came hours after Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz announced the activation of the Iron Dome defense system in the south of the country. Barak said he approved the deployment of the system as an operational experiment and the IDF has said it will be operational in a few days. (*)

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in World News

 

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Gaza militants discuss 'possible truce' with Israel

An Israeli man inspects a damaged house hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip. (*)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories, March 27, 2011 ( KATAKAMI.COM / Channel News Asia / AFP ) : Palestinian factions met in the Gaza Strip on Saturday to discuss renewing a de facto truce with Israel after a week of bloody confrontations, militants attending the meeting said, Channel News Asia reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said on Friday that Israel was ready to act with “great force” in response to the week’s rocket and mortar attacks, which led to retaliatory Israeli strikes killing eight Palestinians.

One Palestinian faction member said the Gaza meeting would probably “stress again a commitment to a field truce at the moment the Israeli occupation commits to it.”

A source close to the meeting said “the issue of returning stability and calm to Gaza after a series of Israeli aggressions will be discussed.”

Hamas already pledged on Wednesday to “to restore calm” in the coastal enclave.

“We confirm that our stance in the government is set on protecting the stability,” Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said in a statement.

“We will work to restore the field conditions that were prevalent over the last few weeks.”

And Ismail Haniya, the Hamas premier in Gaza, said he had been making contacts with other factions “with a view to Gaza avoiding new confrontations with the Israeli occupation.”

In particular, he said he had spoken with Ramadan Shallah, the Damascus based chief of Islamic Jihad, which has claimed responsibility for many of the hundreds of projectiles fired on Israel in the past week.

Netanyahu said Israel had been “subjected to bouts of terror and rocket attacks” and that “we stand ready to act with great force and great determination to put a stop to it.”

“Any civilised society will not tolerate such wanton attacks on its civilians,” he said.

Friday was calm, but Palestinian militants fired two rockets from Gaza into Israel overnight and damaged a house, where Israeli media said eight sleeping people were unharmed.

Also an explosion seriously damaged a soft drinks factory in the Zeitun neighbourhood of Gaza city, Palestinian security officials said, blaming an Israeli tank shell.

But the military said none of its forces were operating in the area at the time.

As Netanyahu spoke on Friday, Defence Minister Ehud Barak toured the Gaza border with army chief Lieutenant General Benny Gantz saying calm seemed to be returning to the area.

And he indicated that if the rocket attacks stopped, Israel would also halt its strikes into Gaza.

“We don’t intend to let the terror organisations again disturb the order but we will do all we need to to return the (military) activity to the border line itself,” he said.

In other developments, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas held positive talks in the West Bank city of Ramallah with Hamas officials to discuss efforts to reconcile his Fatah party with Hamas, sources on both sides said.

Last week, Abbas responded favourably to an invitation from Hamas to engage in talks that would end the split and lead to the formation of an interim government.

Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since the early 1990s. Tensions boiled over in 2007, when the enmity erupted into bloodshed that saw the Islamists kick their secular rivals out of Gaza.

Since then, Gaza has been effectively cut off from the West Bank, which is under the control of Fatah, and repeated attempts at reconciliation between the groups have led nowhere.

The disunity of the Palestinians has prevented them from taking a common stance in peace talks with Israel, which are now off the table.

In a visit to Israel this week, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Washington firmly backed Israel’s right to respond both to the rocket fire and the Jerusalem bombing, which he described as “repugnant acts.”

But he suggested Israel should tread carefully or risk derailing the course of popular unrest sweeping Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East.

Gates pressed Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take “bold action” for peace despite soaring tensions, saying political upheaval in the region offered an opportunity.

Israel’s leaders have appeared reluctant to be dragged into another bloody war with Hamas, especially as they lack international support for any new offensive on Gaza. (*)
 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in World News

 

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President Mahmoud Abbas meets Hamas Leaders in Ramallah

 

 

RAMALLAH, March 27, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / Ma’an News Agency / AFP) — President Mahmoud Abbas held talks Saturday with Hamas leaders in Ramallah, in a meeting both sides described as “positive.”

As reported by Ma’an News Agency on Saturday, Aziz Dweik, the Hamas head of the Palestinian legislature, said the meeting was “highly positive” and that “practical moves on the ground will taken in the coming days” regarding Abbas’ proposed visit to Gaza to make a unity deal.

“This visit has become the people’s demand and must be answered,” Dweik said.

He added that he delivered a letter to Abbas from the delegation, but did not reveal its contents.

Azzam Al-Ahmad, president of Fatah’s parliamentary bloc, said without elaborating that “the meeting was indeed positive in spite of some negative statements from the brothers in Hamas about what the president announced.”

Al-Ahmad said the meeting was the first practical step taken by Hamas toward facilitating Abbas’ visit.

Meanwhile, Palestinian factions meeting in Gaza City expressed their support for the landmark meeting in Ramallah, the first between Abbas and Hamas in over two years.

“The attendees support the initiative of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to invite President Mahmoud Abbas to visit Gaza, and Abbas’ response, and the meeting Abbas held earlier with Aziz Dwiek,” said Osama Al-Haj Ahmed of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

However, some Fatah officials downplayed the importance of the meeting, saying Hamas’ official decision is made in Gaza and by its leadership abroad.

During the meeting, Abbas discussed his initiative to end the division between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas-run government in Gaza.

On March 16, the president accepted an invitation from Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh to visit the coastal enclave in the midst of mass youth protests calling for national unity.

But Abbas said he would go to make a deal, not to discuss one. Haniyeh had invited the president for talks.

Abbas said the purpose of the landmark trip would be to “end the division and form a government of independent national figures to start preparing for presidential, legislative and [Palestinian] National Council elections within six months.”

He has not set foot in the Gaza Strip since Hamas ousted Fatah from the enclave in near civil war in 2007.

The president said Palestinians would not be able to end Israel’s occupation or hold elections without achieving national unity first.

Since 2007, Gaza has been effectively cut off from the West Bank, which is under the control of Fatah, and repeated attempts at reconciliation have led nowhere.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza and the West Bank on March 15 to demand that the two factions end their long-running rivalry.  (*)

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in World News

 

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