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Abbas opposed to ‘Hezbollah model’ in Gaza

His conditions are aimed at disarming Hamas — but also keeping Dahlan and Qatar out of the equation

Published: 15:11 October 1, 2017Gulf News

Omar Shariff, Deputy GCC/Middle East Editor

GAZA — Occupied West Bank-based Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah arrives in Gaza today on his first visit to territory since 2015, in a fresh attempt to reconcile with Hamas, which rules the Israeli-blockaded enclave. Hamas deputy political chief Mousa Abu Marzouq conceded in an interview last month with pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat that decisions to fight or make peace with Israel should be in future agreed jointly with Fatah.

But the movement, he suggested, would keep its finger on the trigger: “The subject of the resistance’s weapons … will not be on the table for dialogue.”

However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that he would not accept the “Hezbollah model” in Gaza. Al Hayat reported over the weekend that Abbas has put forward three conditions for reconciliation with Hamas: (1) The organisation dismantle its military wing; (2) There is no foreign involvement in Gaza’s governance; (3) All development funds be channelled through the Palestinian government.

Officials on both sides of the Palestinian divide and in other Arab countries say former Gaza security chief Mohammad Dahlan is behind the push for détente with Hamas. But Palestinian National Authority officials have also said that Abbas’s three conditions are aimed at keeping both Dahlan and Qatar out of the equation. Dahlan’s return to prominence could have consequences for Palestinian politics as profound as the reconciliation itself.

The Israeli daily Haaretz quoted one PNA official as saying, “The Lebanese model cannot be applied in the [Occupied] Territories. If there is no unified rule and administration by institutions subservient to the rule of law, as in every normal country, there can be no talk of true national reconciliation.”

Following these comments, Abu Marzouq sought clarifications from Abbas and the PNA.

The Hamas-Fatah talks are intended to prepare for a transfer of power in the Gaza Strip from Hamas to the PNA.

Short of funds and friends, Hamas may have few options but to make concessions. For years it had modest but stable economic backing by Turkey and Qatar, where Hamas houses its headquarters.

But in recent months its friends, especially Qatar, have been on the back foot.

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