Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the reason why reconciliation talks scheduled for this weekend in Cairo have been postponed “indefinitely”, Rai Al-Youm newspaper reported.
According to the paper, Egypt decided to postpone the meeting followed a series of incidents which led them to believe that the talks were destined to “fail”.
The incidents began when Abbas sent a Fatah delegation to Egypt. It was headed by General Jibril Rajoub, Ahmed Helles and Rawhi Fattouh, though Abbas had initially agreed to attend in person.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh had already arrived in Cairo as part of his movement’s delegation.
Later, Egyptian officials received information that Abbas had prevented the Palestinian factions in the occupied West Bank from travelling to Cairo to participate in the talks which was the first indication that Abbas is seeking to monopolise or thwart the reconciliations talks.
The second surprise came when the Fatah delegation in Cairo conveyed a “strict” message from Abbas who had put two conditions for coordinating Gaza reconstruction efforts under the Egyptian auspices.
“The first condition was direct and definitive instructions from Abbas that Hamas must immediately participate in a Palestinian national unity government before elections take place, while the second condition is that the Palestinian elections will not take place without Israel’s approval to include the occupied city of Jerusalem,” the paper said.
Angered with Abbas’s position, the Egyptians are reported to have informed Hamas and other Palestinian figures that they are proceeding with the reconstruction projects in the besieged Gaza Strip in coordination with the “fait accompli” leaders in Gaza, meaning Hamas.
The paper said, both Hamas leaders, Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar, agreed to this Egyptian strategy which would also involve coordination with the United Nations.