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Saturday, February 23, 2013
Fatah, Hamas officials trade accusations in heated debate

Fatah, Hamas officials trade accusations in heated debate
Published 23/02/2013 20:12
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=568221

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz
Dweik and Fatah's speaker in the PLC, Azzam al-Ahmad, traded accusations
Saturday during a symposium organized by the PLO.

The meeting was organized by the PLO's Culture and Media department and
included Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi as a panelist.

The rival Hamas and Fatah officials disagreed on the success of
reconciliation efforts, with al-Ahmad claiming that reconciliation had come
"very close" and Dweik stating that "no tangible breakthrough" had been
made.

Both officials tried to undermine the achievements of their rival faction,
with Dweik claiming Fatah had begun as as armed resistance faction but was
now coordinating on security with Israel.

The Hamas official lauded the resistance achievements of the Islamist group,
noting the group's ability to launch rockets at Tel Aviv in fighting last
November.

At that point Hamas officials withdrew from the meeting.

In the aftermath, Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf said that "Dweik has offended
the Palestinian people, their history, their martyrs and their security
services while trying to justify the coup and the killings in the Gaza
Strip."

Ashrawi, who was sitting between both officials, said she was surprised by
Dweik's comments.

"The panelists have not criticized Islamist leaders, neither has the panel
focused on religion, and for that reason we were deeply surprised when
religion was introduced during the panel," she said.

Hamas' Change and Reform bloc in turn responded by criticizing al-Ahmad's
comments about Dweik, saying they "reflect a state of immorality which went
far beyond political rivalry and boosting the occupation's support."

Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Marwan Abu Ras called for Fatah to replace
al-Ahmad as their PLC speaker, claiming that the official was trying to
deepen the state of disagreement between factions and maintain internal
rivalries.

"His positions are harmful for Palestinian society and rather in line with
the Zionist and American plots against resistance and against freedoms in
the West Bank," he added.

Palestinian officials said recently that reconciliation meetings in Cairo
had fallen short of expectations, with some questioning whether either
faction had the will to end the political division.

A deal was signed in May 2011 to reunite the West Bank and Gaza, but
political factions have repeatedly failed to reach an agreement concerning
its practical implementation.

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