The saga continues as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to sputter in their attempts to form a new unity government, after Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the last dysfunctional government earlier this month.
Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior head of Abbas’s Fatah faction and the leader of the PLO committee holding talks with Hamas, told the Palestinian Arab Ma’an News Agency on Monday night that talks have “reached an impasse,” and that a meeting will be held with Abbas and all PLO members Tuesday to discuss the deadlock.
The talks, which started Saturday, were meant to form a new government consisting of factional leaders instead of technocrats.
But according to Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, who responded Monday to al-Ahmad’s claims of an “impasse,” the talks haven’t really begun beyond “some phone calls.”
“All that happened were some phone calls in which Fatah tried to impose its doctrines based on its false delusion that it owns the Palestinian people, and that it alone can decide whatever it wants regarding the Palestinian issue,” said Zuhri.
The Hamas spokesperson added that it was “silly” for Fatah to think it could impose conditions on Hamas.
Al-Ahmad’s announcement of an “impasse” came after senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk said earlier on Monday that it was “unacceptable” that the PLO is being tasked with forming a new unity government.
He called for any new government to be a “non-political” entity, conducting various missions determined by the different factions, and said it was “unacceptable that the government adopts the agenda of the PLO.”
Responding to Marzouk, al-Ahmad said he had receive contradicting messages from the Hamas leader since talks started on Saturday.
According to al-Ahmad, Marzouk at the beginning said in a phone conversation that Hamas supports a non-political government, but later added conditions conflicting with that position.
Marzouk demonstrated a “lack of seriousness” in forming a new government according to al-Ahmad, who said he doubted a unity government would actually be formed.
Hamas and Fatah have remained bitter rivals despite the rapprochement agreement signed last April which torpedoed peace talks between the PA and Israel. Just last summer Hamas staged a coup in Judea and Samaria to oust the PA, in an attempt that was thwarted by the IDF.