Hamas, Islamic Jihad reiterate their boycotts to Egypt-mediated inter-Palestinian dialogue

GAZA, Nov. 12 – Hamas, which controls Gaza Strip, and the Islamic Jihad on Wednesday reiterated that they boycotted Egyptian efforts for an inter-Palestinian dialogue to reconcile between the main rival factions of Hamas and Fatah. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad withdrew from the dialogue due to the continuation of the political arrests against Hamas supporters in the West Bank ruled by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, and Egypt’s refusal to consider their reservations, said media reports.

Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, told the press that the participants of the dialogue, mainly from the factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), “lacked the intention of reconciliation and depended on the U.S. influence.”

Khaled al-Batsh of the Islamic Jihad said his movement also boycotted the dialogue because Egypt did not respond to reservations his movement raised on the Cairo-drafted agenda of the dialogue.

Egypt has proposed the formation of a unity government, reforming the Palestinian security services and holding early elections to reinforce the reconciliation.

But Wednesday, Egypt has accused Hamas of “striking” the national Palestinian dialogue that was scheduled to begin in Cairoon Nov. 9, reported Arab daily of al-Hayyat.

“Hamas’ decision to boycott the dialogue was linked to regional agenda,” an Egyptian official told the London-based newspaper, referring to Iran which supports Hamas and the Islamic Jihad factions.

“Hamas made the political prisoners’ issue as a pretext to boycott the dialogue though this issue could have been settled during the talks,” the Egyptian official said.

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