PA Unity Talks 'a Total Failure'

Ad Feedback - CAIRO - The latest round of Egyptian-mediated reconciliation meetings between rival Palestinian factions, described as "a total failure," ended abruptly on Thursday.

Egyptian mediators, led by General Intelligence Service chief Omar Suleiman, expressed deep disappointment over the failed talks, according to Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh.

"It's a total failure," an official in Ramallah, affiliated with Palestinian Authority PA President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, told Toameh.

"We are wasting our time because Hamas is not going to change," he said.

Hamas in Damascus

In an address in Damascus, exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal blamed "foreign conditions" for the stalemate between the two factions, principally over the recognition of Israel's right to exist, which Hamas has vowed never to accept.

"Unfortunately after I spoke to the [Hamas] representatives in Cairo, it was revealed that the reconciliation process had been slowed down due to foreign conditions," Mashaal said.

Izzat Risheq, a member of the Hamas delegation, also said the latest meetings accomplished nothing.

"No progress was made toward reconciliation," Risheq said.

Hamas in Gaza

Another Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said the Egyptians treated their delegation's representatives "as if they were criminals," confiscating their cell phones and restricting their movement.

Gaza-based Hamas official Salah Bardaweel called on the PA to reconsider its position regarding past signed agreements with Israel because of the new Israeli government.

"The PA and Mahmoud Abbas need to understand that the Zionist enemy will never abide by the agreements," Bardaweel said.

"This enemy is only interested in deepening divisions among the Palestinians," he said.

Egyptian mediators plan to resume negotiations between the two factions on April 21.

Hamas Condones Teen's Murder

Meanwhile on Thursday, Gaza-based Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha condoned the murder of an Israeli teen from the community of Bay Ayin.

An axe-wielding Palestinian from a nearby Arab village entered the community, bludgeoned to death Shlomo Nativ, 13, and fractured the skull of seven-year-old Yair Gamliel.

"We are a people occupied," Taha told reporters, "and it is our right to defend ourselves and to act in every way and with every means at our disposal in order to defend ourselves," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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