Hamas spokesman Taher Al-Nunu rejected allegations by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas that Hamas leaders are giving in to Iranian pressure to prevent Palestinian reconciliation from taking place.
Hamas responded by accusing Abbas of being subject to "Zionist-American" pressure, advising him to pay attention to the changes transpiring in the region.
In an interview with Ahram Online while in Cairo, Al-Nunu underlined that Hamas aspires to an ending of inter-Palestinian strife.
Al-Nunu summed up three conditions in the effort towards reconciliation with Fatah. First was holding direct talks with Hamas, the location being of no importance. Second is setting up a timeframe for the beginning and end of dialogue. Third, that discussions encompass all points of contention, including the Palestine Liberation Organisation, overall political programme and security arrangements, and that all political powers and factions be part of the discussions.
The Palestinian rivals have been presented with a Turkish initiative — backed by leaders from Hamas and Fatah — recommending legislative elections first, a proposal revealed by Azzam Al-Ahmed, member of the Fatah leadership and the official entrusted with the dialogue file with Hamas.
Al-Nunu commented on the idea, saying that it is possible as a step on the road to reconciliation and could be launched in the upcoming phase, saying that this should be done “in order not to enter into the process of forming a government that ends up not being recognised, repeating the same cycle.”
Sources close to Hamas had revealed to Ahram Online that the movement is embarking on a campaign to collect endorsements in Cairo that may secure investment for Hamas to safeguard its political and economic status, especially that it is wary of its standing in Damascus in case the regime falls, as had happened in Egypt and Tunisia.
Al-Nunu depicted his visit to Cairo as unofficial, noting that he had not met any security officials or political figures, adding that these meetings are for Hamas chief Khaled Meshal's potential visit to Cairo if dialogue proceeds.
Ahram Online sources also confirmed that in the event Palestinian factions agree to return to the negotiating table, Meshal and Abbas will accompany Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi in his upcoming visit to Gaza as a step to announce an end to the Palestinian divide and to show solidarity against the Israeli blockade of the Strip.
This comes at a time when other Palestinian delegations have visited Cairo to engage in talks about their participation in dialogue in the future.
Al-Nunu says that Hamas is counting on Egypt’s political weight and the role the new Egyptian leadership will play in the region, underlining the country’s importance with regard to the Palestinian cause.
As for the killing of Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza this week, Al-Nunu condemned the incident, saying that Gaza government head Ismail Haniyeh considers it a crime. Al-Nunu expressed the suspicion that Israel played a part in the crime, in order to tarnish the reputation of Hamas. He also cited Israeli efforts to prevent the arrival of a second freedom flotilla as another reason why the killing of Arrigoni may be Israel’s doing.
Arrigoni mother will be onboard the second freedom flotilla, despite the painful murder of her son in Gaza.