Hamas leader calls on Arab countries to increase funding to PA

Dina Ezzat , Friday 6 Jan 2012

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal says Palestinian reconciliation is being jeopardised by 'pressure from Western donors' on the Palestinian Authority, calls for Arab states to provide 'financial safety net'

Meshaal & El-Arabi
Senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashal (C) talks during a news conference with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al Araby (R), after their meeting at the Arab League headquarter, in Cairo, January 6, 2012. (Photo:Reuters)


Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal today expressed some sympathy with the Palestinian Authority, which is under pressure from Western donors, especially the US, to slow down the pace of Palestinian reconciliation.

“The Palestinian Authority is being threatened via financial aid; this is not helping the pace of the reconciliation,” Meshaal said in Cairo following talks with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Arabi.

The way around this problem, Meshaal suggested – to an approving nod from El-Arabi – is for “Arab countries to provide the Palestinian Authority with (a financial) safety net.”

Meanwhile, Meshaal said that it would take more time to sort out the bad sentiment and work out the differences between his Islamic resistance movement and Fatah, the main faction controlling the Palestinian Authority.

Fatah and Hamas have been at odds since the summer of 2007 when Hamas ultimately isolated the Gaza Strip while Fatah remained in the West Bank.

On 22 December, after years of mostly Egyptian-sponsored negotiations, the two factions signed a reconciliation agreement that would allow for Hamas to join the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Liberation Organisation and pave the way for the establishment of a national unity Palestinian government to end the split between Gaza and the West Bank that are both under different forms of Israeli occupation.

A meeting between Meshaal and Palestinian Authority Chairman (President) Mahmoud Abbas is due in Cairo on 2 February according to Meshaal’s statements today.

Meanwhile, Meshaal said he was hopeful the new democracy coming to the Arab world would help support the Palestinian cause by reunifying Arab ranks behind the Palestinians.

The Hamas leader said his Islamic resistance movement was expecting the new Arab regimes, “Islamists or nationalists – and not just Islamists” to come to the rescue of the Palestinians and re-establish the long undermined Arab cause in the region “side by side with Turkey and Iran.”

Meanwhile, Meshaal voiced concern over the chances of any upcoming Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and insisted that only a strong Palestinian front that is in full control of all the political cards, “resistance included,” could attain the rights of Palestinian people.

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