Monday, January 17, 2005

Palestinian Civil War Actors Sticking to the Script

Hamas dismissed Monday a demand by the Palestine Liberation Organization to halt attacks against Israel, saying such a call helped Israel justify its military operations in the occupied territories.

“We are sorry to say that some people are using this name (the PLO) to issue a demand which is at odds with the aims of the Palestinian people,” Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the group, told AFP.

“This kind of statement only helps the Zionist enemy and gives it an excuse to continue the occupation and legalises its aggressions.”

The PLO’s decision-making executive committee issued a statement on Sunday which called for an end to military acts which it said harmed “the national interest” and gave the Israeli government an excuse to stall the peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon severed all contacts with the Palestinian Authority in the wake of a suicide attack on a border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip which was carried out by Hamas and two other armed factions.

Newly-elected Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas, who is also chairman of the PLO, has called for an end to the armed uprising and is trying to persuade groups such as Hamas to agree on a new ceasefire.

Abu Zuhri confirmed that the leadership of Hamas in its Gaza stronghold would hold talks with Abbas here on Wednesday.

The smaller Islamic Jihad movement also criticised the PLO statement, saying that the matter should be discussed in private when Abbas comes to Gaza.

“We think that this kind of issue should be discussed in the national dialogue and not be presented to the media,” Mohammed al-Hindi, Jihad’s leader in Gaza, told AFP.

The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, another small militant faction, also said that it disagreed with the PLO statement.

“We were surprised by this statement,” a PFLP statement said.

“It is our right to continue on the path of resistance by any means to end the occupation, settlement activity and to build a Palestinians state,” it added.

Posted By: Redneck Texan