Ma'an News Agency
December 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Hopes to restart Palestinian reconciliation efforts through signing Egypt’s proposal shrank again, as member of Fatah’s Central Committee Nabil Sha’ath on Monday alleged that Hamas had refused to sign the reconciliation document.

“I contacted the Egyptian officials and reached the conclusion that efforts reached an impasse in light of Hamas' refusal to sign the Egyptian plan. Hamas’ top priority is the prisoner swap negotiations, and they will not take any other step before the deal is finalized,” Sha’ath told Ma’an during a telephone interview from Cairo.

The Fatah official said that the Palestinian leadership is unaware of any details pertaining to the swap deal, but that Egyptian authorities told him the coming few days would be decisive.

According to Palestinian political analyst Hani Al-Masri, the reconciliation efforts failed and the issue has been delayed. He that Fatah and Hamas appeared to be colluding to keep the status quo until June in the hopes that new options regarding negotiations with Israel and the prisoner swap deal will arise.

“What contributes to more complications is that Hamas refuses to abandon the Gaza Strip, but wants to join the Palestinian Liberation Organization,” he said in a separate interview with Ma’an.

Al-Masri highlighted that the Palestinian Reconciliation Committee, which visited Cairo last Sunday, returned empty-handed after the Egyptian side refused to open their proposal to amendments.

Meanwhile, Hamas insisted on implementing amendments to the reconciliation deal. “Hamas wants reconciliation, yet, there must be amendments to the Egyptian deal,” said Hamas spokesperson Isma’il Radwan.

Committee members headed to Cairo last week to discuss the Egyptian sponsored reconciliation proposal, calling for an end to Hamas-Fatah rivalries. Hamas officials have said that certain original clauses in the document had been amended without their knowledge and that there remains points of contention.


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