by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly
GAZA, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian reconciliation issue has once again come into the spotlight as senior officials of 14 Palestinian factions are meeting in Algeria on Sunday, hoping to end the more than 15 years of internal Palestinian division.
Over the last few days, Algeria held separate meetings with officials of Hamas, the ruling faction of the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, to hear their vision for the success of reconciliation.
Still, neither side accepts the vision of the other.
Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since the summer of 2007, requires reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), while Fatah, whose leadership in the West Bank is accepted by the international community, insists on forming a national unity government that respects the conditions laid out by the international Quartet of the United Nations, the United States, the EU and Russia, which include condemning violence and recognizing Israel and the signed peace agreements.
During a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee held in Ramallah on Friday, Abbas confirmed that Fatah would respond to the reconciliation efforts made by Egypt and other Arab nations and work to make them a success in Palestinian reconciliation, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
But he stressed that Palestinian reconciliation has to be based on the UN resolutions and the recognition of the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
Fatah accused Israel "and some regional and international powers" of not wanting a Palestinian reconciliation or ending the internal division "because keeping this division serves their interest and obstructs the Palestinian efforts to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital."
Munzer Hayek, Fatah spokesman in Gaza, told Xinhua that the movement had presented its vision for Palestinian reconciliation in Algeria, which starts with unifying the institutions of the Palestinian Authority before going to the issue of PLO.
The presence of the Fatah delegation in Algeria was preceded by the arrival of a Hamas delegation led by Khalil al-Hayya, head of Hamas' Arab and Islamic Relations Office, along with Maher Salah and Hussam Badran, members of Hamas Political Bureau.
The Hamas delegation held a series of meetings with an Algerian team specialized in the Palestinian reconciliation issue.
Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, told Xinhua that Hamas presented an integrated vision of reconciliation in harmony with most Palestinian factions, hoping the Fatah delegation would have the same positive spirit toward ending the internal division.
Sunday's meeting comes as a culmination of the call of Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune during a meeting with Abbas in Algeria at the end of last year.
On Dec. 7, 2021, Tebboune announced that his country would host Palestinian factions to unify the Palestinian ranks. He decided to grant Palestine a financial contribution of 100 million U.S. dollars, which was welcomed by the Palestinians officially and publicly.
Palestinian analysts believe that the meeting in Algeria is a significant opportunity for the Palestinian factions to reach an agreement on a unified Palestinian reference to confront Israeli policies.
Hani al-Masri, a political analyst from Ramallah, told Xinhua that reconciliation and unification of various Palestinian factions "is a necessary step to confront the Israeli plans, which are becoming increasingly fierce and extreme in an attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause."
In fact, what prevents a breakthrough in the Palestinian national unity over the past years "is the priority of individual and factional interests over the national interest," al-Masri said.
The Palestinians have been suffering from an internal division since the summer of 2007, when Hamas violently took control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas's security forces. Several agreements and understandings sponsored by Arab mediators have failed to achieve reconciliation and end the internal division. ■