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Palestine

Hamas-Fatah talks called off

Article published on the 2008-11-08 Latest update 2008-11-08 13:53 TU

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh(Photo: Reuters)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
(Photo: Reuters)

Palestinian reconciliation talks were called off Saturday after Hamas announced that it would boycott them in protest of the detention of hundreds of its members by Fatah security forces.

“Hamas decided not to attend the dialogue talks in Egypt” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said. “Our decision was made because President Mahmud Abbas is continuing to weaken the Hamas movement and he has not released any Hamas detainees in the West Bank.”

The announcement was confirmed by Egyptian foreign ministry officials, who were slated to host the talks beginning Monday.

The cancellation is a blow to US efforts to encourage peace in the region, and cast a pall over Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to the West Bank city of Jenin, which went on as planned.

A boat carrying European MPs arrives in Gaza.(Photo: Reuters)

A boat carrying European MPs arrives in Gaza.
(Photo: Reuters)

The Palestinian territories have been locked in struggle ever since Hamas took over the Gaza strip in June 2007, claiming Fatah was locking them out of positions of power in Abbas’ government. Fatah continues to control the West Bank.

Meanwhile, a group of European MPs, carrying medical supplies landed on the shores of Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade on the territory.

Mary Hughes, of the US-based Free Gaza Movement, called the operation “a complete success” after she received word that the boat had made land.

 

Comment: Mary Hughes of the US-based Free Gaza Movement

08/11/2008

 

The mission is intended to draw the world’s attention to the plight of Palestinians living in Gaza, after years of having their borders controlled by neighbouring Israel and Egypt. “The people of Gaza have had no boats visiting them for decades,” Hughes told RFI.