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Palestinian moderates push for Fatah, Hamas to reconcile

A Yemeni initiative aims to start a dialogue between the rival factions, a prospect that both Israel and the US have advised against.

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Before a room of skeptics from his Fatah party, Azzam el-Ahmad explains what he agreed to, ostensibly on their behalf, when he signed onto the Yemeni Initiative last month alongside Hamas in Sanaa.

"There are some sides in Fatah which are trying to interpret our actions in a negative way," he bellows over the microphone at the Shepherd's Hotel. "The Yemeni Initiative said everything has to go back to the status quo," before the Hamas coup in Gaza. "I challenge anyone who says that I signed an agreement saying otherwise!"

Days after a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal was announced, senior political figures in Fatah said that such talks were unacceptable, and that Ahmad had no right to sign an agreement bringing the warring Palestinian political factions back together.

Hamas has joined in, accusing Fatah of backpedaling on its agreement to work together again as Palestinian brothers.

Complicating the issue are deepening divisions within Fatah, and the somewhat impossible position that the pro-Western leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) – President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad – find themselves in today.

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