War and Piece: Hamas rejects "full" cease fire in 'negotiations' with terrorist chief Abbas
Peaced Off : Fatah accuses Abbas of "abandoning " them - Terrorist gunmen whine that they are "living in harsh conditions"
Cairo Talks: Hamas Rejects "Full" Cease-Fire Wednesday, March 16, 2005
View to a kill - Hamas and the PA
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas opened the second day of negotiations in Cairo with Arab terrorist groups with a problem on his hands: how to convince Hamas, a radical Islamic terror group that does not recognize Israel, to sign on to the cease-fire he's trying to broker among the various terrorist factions.
Hamas spokesman Mohammad Nazzal said yesterday, "The Hamas organization believes it is not possible to declare a full cease-fire at this stage of the talks." He said a "cooling down" period of a few months might be attained, but rejected "a long-term truce."
Recognizing the difficulty of presenting a unified position among terrorist groups, Abbas said yesterday at a speech opening the talks, "It is impossible for us to take upon ourselves the implementation of our commitments in a unilateral fashion."
But he was also quick to point a finger at Israel, accusing it of reneging on commitments to the PA: "We reject Israel reverting to its policy of procrastination, and as we are making progress towards quiet and a truce in the interests of our people, we ask that Israel fulfill its commitments."
Abbas has long said that the armed struggle against Israel was bad strategy for the Palestinian Authority and its cause. He himself, however, served as treasurer of the PLO and helped secure funding for attacks such as the massacre of the Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972.
Another contentious issue in the Cairo talks is "right of return" for Arabs who fled Israel in the 1948 Independence War. Abbas has reportedly taken the position that individual Arabs would be allowed to reclaim their homes in Israel, but the majority of those who claim the right to "return," numbering in the millions, would be given the right to live in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, and to receive compensation from Israel.
The major issue that is important to Israel and the Bush Administration is not being discussed in Cairo, however: disarming and dismantling the terrorist factions.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has stated that a cease-fire among the PA terror groups would not be sufficient for resuming permanent status negotiations with the PA. United States President George W. Bush has conditioned American support for a Palestinian state on the PA fighting terrorism.
The Roadmap plan specifically states, "Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere. Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
Senior Fatah gunmen accuse Abbas of abandoning them
Three senior Fatah gunmen in Nablus on Wednesday accused Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of abandoning them, saying he had failed to fulfill his pledge to solve their plight.
The three complained that they were continuing to live in harsh conditions because of their fear that Israeli security forces would try to arrest or kill them. They said that they were still unable to sleep in their homes despite promises made by Abbas and top PA officials to find a solution to the problem of all the wanted men in the West Bank.
Kafisheh, commander of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the city, said he and his cohorts had agreed to halt their attacks against Israel only after PA officials promised to sit with them and listen to their demands.
"Until now no one from the Palestinian Authority has come to talk to us," he said. "Meanwhile, Israel has continued with its incursions and raids into Palestinian cities and villages."
He added: "We're not begging the Palestinian Authority when we ask it to sit and talk with us. Each time we call them to ask for a meeting to discuss our situation, they tell us that Israel has frozen all contacts with them since the suicide attack in Tel Aviv."
Kafisheh claimed that Israel recently handed over to the PA a list with the names of all the wanted Palestinians in the West Bank. He said the list did not include the names of many wanted gunmen in an apparent attempt to drive a wedge between them and their friends and create confusion. Some of the activists whose names were not on the list were arrested by the IDF after they returned to their homes, he added.
Abu Saltah, who heads the armed Fatah group in the nearby Balata refugee camp, revealed that the PA earlier this week rejected an Israeli offer to transfer 18 wanted gunmen from various Palestinian militias in the West Bank to Jericho.
"We call on the Palestinian Authority not to differentiate between the fugitives from the various armed organizations," he said. "When we are attacked by Israel, members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups stand with us and fight against the Israeli army."
Sanakreh, who has been wanted by the IDF for nearly three years, accused Israel of exploiting the current period of calm to monitor the movements of the fugitives and to recruit more "collaborators." "The Israelis think that we are not wary and that we're not taking security precautions," he said. "On the contrary, we have become more careful and on the alert for any Israeli military action."
The three said that their group was responsible for the car bomb that exploded near Joseph's Tomb in Nablus two weeks ago. They said the attack was directed against soldiers accompanying settlers who were on their way to pray at the site.
They dismissed statements by other members of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank to the effect that the group had agreed to stop its activities.
"We heard through the media some activists speaking on behalf of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades saying that we have decided to halt our attacks and that we are abiding by the truce," Sanakreh said. "But these people don't represent the Aksa Brigades and the Palestinian leadership knows this."
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Tuesday, March 29, 2005