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News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

Fateh and Hamas agree to return to the situation prior to June 2007

Hamas and Fateh agree in Yemen to resuming dialogue

Sunday March 23, 2008 15:57 by Rami Almeghari - IMEMC & Agencies

The rival Palestinian parties, Fateh and Hamas, agreed on Sunday to a memo of understanding, drafted by Yemeni mediators earlier.

Media reports said that both parties signed in Yemen today a document of understanding that states " Fateh and Hamas agree to return to the situation prior to the June's incident".

Azzam Al-Ahmed, representative of Fateh, confirmed to media outlets that the Yemeni mediators will be contacting the parties concerned in order for Hamas and Fatah to restart stalled dialogue.

Al-Ahmed added that the Yemeni president., Ali Abdullah Saleh, will raise the issue of Hamas-Fateh talks in the upcoming Arab states summit in Damascus, thanking President Saleh for his reconciliation efforts.

Dr. Ismail Radhwan of the Hamas party in Gaza was quoted by Ma'an News Agency as saying "the signing of understanding memo marks resumption of dialogue"

" Hamas has been concerned about intra-Palestinian agreement over one objective, which is unity not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank", Radhwan explained, pointing out that dialogue will resume by April 2008.

Hamas and Fateh, the major rival Palestinian parties, have been at loggerheads since the Hamas movement won the parliamentary elections in January 2006.

A unity government reached in February 2007, to end an internationally-enforced economic embargo, collapsed four months later after Hamas took over control of the coastal enclave.

Hamas & Fateh Sign Yemeni Initiative
Yemen, March 23, 2008 (RNA)

Hamas delegate in Yemen said that his movement signed on Sunday the Yemeni-sponsored reconciliation deal with Fateh movement.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said late on Saturday that reconciliation talks between the Palestinian factions of Fateh and Hamas hinge on Hamas' response.
Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said that a final formula was reached and Fateh agreed to it, but the Hamas delegation asked for an opportunity to consult their leadership in Damascus and Gaza.
The Yemeni infinitive says that Gaza must be returned to how it was prior to the Hamas takeover in June 2007 and to hold early legislative elections.

Also Resumption of dialogue on the basis of the 2005 Cairo agreement and the Mecca agreement of 2007 and to respect the Palestinian Law and Basic Law and adherence to it by all parties.

Palestinian Reconciliation Talks in Yemen Await Hamas Response
Gaza, March 23, 2008 (RNA)

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said late on Saturday that reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas hinge on Hamas' response to a proposal about the future of the Gaza Strip.

The issue has been a main point of contention with Fatah demanding that Hamas give up control of Gaza Strip which it has seized in June after routing Fatah forces.

Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said that a final formula was reached and Fatah agreed to it, but the Hamas delegation asked for an opportunity to consult their leadership in Damascus and Gaza.

A Hamas official said "the main stumbling block is Fatah's insistence that Hamas cease its control of the Gaza Strip."

He added that his movement asked that the same should apply to the West Bank, where the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has dismissed a Hamas-led government and arrested some Hamas supporters.

Yemeni mediators will meet both delegations again on Sunday, a Yemeni official said. A Hamas official confirmed the movement's team would meet Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a last-ditch effort to salvage the talks.

PLO and Hamas Talks on Reconciliations Continue in San'a

Gaza, March 22, 2008, (RNA-

The two delegations of both the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas continued Saturday their discussions reconciliation under the erm of the Yemeni Initiative.
Azzam Al-Ahmad, Fateh member of the PLO delegation said that he does not expect reaching an agreement with Hamas.
In al lecture he presented in Yemen, Al-Ahmad reiterated acceptance of the Yemeni Initiative, asserting that Hamas does not accept it because it refuses the national unity, according to the Yemeni News Agency (Saba).
"we changed the term of the Imitative four times but Hamas refused to sign", Al-Ahmad was quoted by Saba as saying.
On Thursday, the talks, broke down with both sides blaming the other for their collapse.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas rejected the Yemeni Initiative and had expressed reservations that "voided it of substance". But Hamas said that Abbas "shuns any dialogue".

Haniya: We Accepted the Yemeni Initiative as Agenda for Dialogue
Gaza, March 22, 2008, (RNA)-

The dismissed Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya said on Saturday that Hamas accepted the Yemeni Initiative as an agenda for dialogue and not as conditions to be implemented.
"we are with the unconditioned dialogue and we welcomed the Yemeni initiative as an agenda for discussion but not as conditions for being implemented," Haniya told reporters in Gaza.
Regarding the dialogue between Egypt and Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, Haniya said that the factions will be briefed but the Egyptian side about the developments of the Egyptian contacts wit US and Israel on truce.
He reiterated thet truce should be mutual and comprehensive (in the West Bank and Gaza) and the siege on Gaza should be left.
As for expanding his dismissed government, Haniya said that such step is an administrative decision without any political aspect.
Haniya called on Egypt to release Hamas members who are detained in Egyptian prisons.
Egyptian security detained tens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in Egypt when they crossed the Egyptian Palestinian borderline in January.

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