Mediation for ReconciliationReconcilation and Community

Session with Hamas

PalThink for Strategic Studies. GazaParticipants: 15Pal Think for Strategic Studies has organized a meeting between leaders of Hamas and a group of journalists, Academics and businessmen to discuss the prospects of Ceasefire, National Reconciliation, Opening the Borders and other issues.Mr. Omar Sha’aban started by explaining the reasons which led PalThink to organize such a meeting which include:

1- The atmospheres of reconciliation available on the Palestinian arena.

2- The Yemeni initiative which is being discussed currently.

3- The ceasefire with the Israeli side.

4- Borders of Gaza Strip and the mechanisms of getting them open.Mr. Omar Sha’aban has also explained that PalThink has been trying for the past months to achieve reconciliation and to bring closer together the points of view of both FATAH and HAMAS.Dr. Isma’el Ridwan, leader in Hamas has then started talking about national reconciliation; its reasons and motives, where he discussed liberally each of the following issues:(The Areesh talks which discussed the issue of the blockade, the captivated Israeli soldier, Gaza Strip’s borders and Rafah borders in particular, the internal file).He had then explained Hamas’s position on these files:

1- Hamas is keen on holding internal dialogue but with no preset conditions.

2- There are decisions made by Arab foreign ministers as well as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak that call for not letting Palestinians starve.

3- Borders are to be under Palestinian, Egyptian and European supervision, with no presence to the Israelis.

4- Partnership with the Palestinian Authority in managing the borders is acceptable to Hamas where Hamas has to approve names of those to be working at the crossings.

5- No going back to the 2005 borders agreement.

6- Truce has been proposed to both Hamas and Islamic Jihad by the Egyptians. It has a strong prospect but with conditions.

7- In relation to the Yemeni initiative, Hamas is ready for any Arab or Islamic initiative with no preset conditions. Following that, discussion was open to the participants, where everyone has agreed that a truce between Fatah and Hamas can only be achieved if both took some very brave steps. During the session, there was a lot of criticism for hamas and its practices on the ground; for incident, one of the participants has mentioned how hamas demands that civil organizations get clearance certificates from the ministry of interior, to certify good conduct by the applicants. Many have also criticized the ongoing media incitement by both parties, where each has their own personal interests which get served by further complicating the situation. Some added that all available initiatives are only diplomatic scenarios and are not practical ones. Others have asked for international protection.Participants have agreed on the following recommendations:

1- To separate media from politics.

2- To organize a professional and objective media group to monitor the media of both sides.

3- Ending political arrests.

4- Announcing a media calm for two weeks.

5- Stopping the black news strip.

6- To stop attacking decision makers from both sides, and in particular, president Mahmoud Abas.The meeting was concluded by Mr. Omar Sha’aban asserting the importance of having the two factions hold joint meetings, and that civil organizations have to step in and participate in what’s going on. He stressed that the issue of respecting the person of the president (Abu Mazen) has been discussed with leaders of Hamas. Mr. Sha’aban has thanked the participants and asked that they participate in other like seminars.

Session with HamasDay and date: Sunday 16-3-2008Location:pal think

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