Fatah Eyeing Terrorist to Lead Gaza Return (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 04/20/12)
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Five years after Hamas seized Gaza from Fatah in a violent putsch the
Fatah central committee is laying the groundwork to replace Hamas in
the Palestinian Authority´s 2012 elections.
According the to Hebrew-language daily Maariv, PA chairman Mahmoud
Abbas and Fatah´s central committee will gather in Ramallah on
Saturday to discuss ways to wrest Gaza from Hamas.
The bloody 2007 putsch resulted in a schism in the PA and left Abbas´
Fatah faction with little influence in the Hamas-controlled coastal
Since the Hamas takeover, internal disputes combined with fears of
retaliation and harassment by Hamas, have rendered Fatah activity in
Gaza almost non-existent. Over the past five years, Fatah members in
Gaza have been kidnapped, tortured, intentionally maimed, and
sometimes murdered by Hamas.
One leading suggestion, likely with the support of Abbas and Fatah´s
senior leadership, is to replace the Fatah leadership in Gaza. In
theory, doing so would infuse new blood into Fatah´s Gaza
It would also allow popular Fatah figures in Gaza who can make a
political impact to be appointed. A central figure in Fatah´s plans
to restructure in Gaza is Yazid Hawihi, the favorite to replace
Abdullah Abu Samhadana as the Fatah chairman in Gaza.
Hawihi, 50, is from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. Six months ago he
was released from an Israeli jail where he had served five years
after being convicted of terrorism related charges.
The restructuring comes as Fatah makes plans for the 2012 elections
Abbas and Hamas politburo-chief-in-exile Khaled Mashaal agreed to in
Qatar earlier this year.
Under the agreement Abbas will serve as PA prime minister in Judea,
Samaria, and Gaza. However, the Hamas leadership in Gaza – headed by
Ismail Hainyeh and Mahmoud al-Zahar – have actively sought to sandbag
the Abbas-Mashaal deal.
At a meeting in Cairo, Haniyeh and al-Zahar demanded new conditions,
beyond what the Qatar deal called for, that would not only ensure
they retained absolute control of Gaza after the elections, but would
gain significant influence in Judea and Samaria as well.
However, Fatah says Hamas has lost ground in Gaza due to Haniyeh and
al-Zahar´s refusal to go through with the Qatar deal.
"The public understands that Hamas dared not pursue reconciliation
with us, especially after Abbas met with the Hamas leadership and
agreed to steps for reconciliation," a senior Fatah official told
"Disagreements between Hamas leaders are preventing the
implementation of the Qatar agreement. As a result, Fatah leaders in
Ramallah plan to restore the power of the PA in Gaza..
According to the official Abbas began quietly restructuring Fatah´s
leadership in Gaza two months ago, after the Fatah Revolutionary
Council approved the appointment of Amal Hamad, a Gaza resident to
the Fatah Central Committee.
The move was intended to demonstrate that Fatah members in Gaza were
not cut off from the organization´s senior leadership, and would have
a voice in the organization.
However, Abbas plans for reform are not simply achieved and face two
significant obstacles. On the one hand, Haniyeh and al-Zahar will not
allow significant changes on the ground in Gaza that favor Fatah.
The other is Mohammed Dahlan, the former Fatah strongman in Gaza.
Although Dahlan was ousted from Gaza by Hamas and faces legal
troubles with Abbas´ faction in Ramallah, he enjoys a high degree of
popularity not only in Gaza – but in Washington as well.
However, the Fatah official claimed "The issue of Dahlan is over.
There is no Dahlan group today. He is not a member of Fatah and has
no support.” (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 04/20/12)
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