Little progress in Palestinian reconciliation efforts

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speak during an event in Gaza City. (File photo/AP)
Updated 04 January 2018
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Little progress in Palestinian reconciliation efforts

GAZA CITY: Palestinian reconciliation talks have made little progress, with Hamas insisting that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pay its employees’ salaries in the Gaza Strip, and the PA determined to exercise full governance of the territory.
“President Mahmoud Abbas is determined to achieve Palestinian reconciliation with Hamas, despite the obstacles to the empowerment of the national reconciliation government,” said Azzam Al-Ahmad, a member of the central committee of Abbas’ Fatah party.
“When we finish with the empowerment of the government in Gaza, we’ll start with other files. We won’t take another step until we conclude the preceding step.”
Hamas-appointed employees reject the return of those from the PA — who worked in Palestinian ministries before Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in 2007 — until they are paid their salaries in accordance with the reconciliation deal.
The administrative committee formed after the agreement met on Tuesday in Gaza City to discuss the issue of salaries.
“The problem facing reconciliation is the obligations of the PA and its agreements that call for the renunciation of resistance and weapons,” said Saleh Aruri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau.
Jamal Muhaisin, a member of Fatah’s central committee, said the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “is an important reason for reconciliation to continue and progress toward success.”
Moussa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said a recent round of talks was obstructed by Fatah, “which refuses to lift the punitive measures imposed by the government … on the Gaza Strip.”
Meanwhile, Israel’s Parliament passed its first reading a bill allowing the execution of Palestinians involved in “terrorist” attacks.
“This decision is contrary to international law and the right of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation by all means,” Muhaisin told Arab News.
“In the climate of our popular resistance, any talk about executions today amounts to playing with fire.”


Daesh defeated, ‘caliphate’ eliminated: US-backed SDF

Updated 2 min 32 sec ago
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Daesh defeated, ‘caliphate’ eliminated: US-backed SDF

  • The victory marks the end of the militants’ self-declared “caliphate”
  • The SDF has been battling to capture Baghouz at the Iraqi border for weeks

BEIRUT: Daesh has been defeated at its final shred of territory of Baghouz in Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Saturday, announcing the end of its self-declared “caliphate” that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.
The SDF declared the “total elimination of (the) so-called caliphate,” Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, wrote on Twitter.
“Baghouz has been liberated. The military victory against Daesh has been accomplished,” he wrote.
The SDF has been battling to capture Baghouz at the Iraqi border for weeks.
“We renew our pledge to continue the war and to pursue their remnants until their complete elimination,” he wrote.
Though the defeat of Daesh at Baghouz ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state straddling Syria and Iraq that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some of its fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The US believes the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq. He stood at the pulpit of the great medieval mosque in Mosul in 2014 to declare himself caliph, sovereign over all Muslims.