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Attack on Al-Hamdallah aimed at derailing reconciliation talks

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (2nd-R), escorted by his bodyguards, is greeted by police forces of the Islamist Hamas movement (L) upon his arrival in Gaza City, in this March 13, 2018 photo. (AFP)
AMMAN: The failed assassination attempt against the Palestinian prime minister on Tuesday had one target — internal Palestinian reconciliation.
The small explosive and the shots fired at the convoy, that also included the head of the Palestinian intelligence, Majed Farraj, has sent political shock waves throughout the Palestinian political map. It was a crude reminder of an attempt against President Abbas in 2007. At the time the president’s security officers uncovered four large explosive devices that were intended to kill Abbas.
Omar Kullab, a political analyst in Jordan of Gazan origin, told Arab News that the best response to the attempt on the prime minister's life, is to move ahead with reconciliation talks.
“We don’t know who is behind it. It might be the Israelis or ISIS (Daesh), but I doubt it is Hamas. Nevertheless, I think that the attitude of Prime Minister (Rami) Hamdallah is the correct one, namely to move even faster ahead with the reconciliation efforts.”
But the attack puts Hamas under the spotlight at a time when the territory they rule is suffering one of the worst economic and humanitarian periods since the Israeli blockade began.
Nahed Abo Tueima, a lecturer on gender issues at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah, believes that Hamas, as the party in charge of security in Gaza, is responsbile for what happened under its watch.
“Hamas claims that it has a strong security force in Gaza and therefore it is fully responsible for what happens.” Tueima, who was born in Gaza, told Arab News. “It needs to allow for joint investigation in order to uncover who exactly is behind what happened.”
Annes Sweidan, head of the external department in the Palestine Liberation Organization, also feels Hamas has to be held responsible. “They can’t shake off their responsibility even if they didn’t do it. The reconciliation will certainly be negatively affected by the attack,” Sweidan told Arab News.
But regardless of the motive or who is behind the attack, there is no doubt that the situation in Gaza is very volatile and needs close attention. Kullab, the Jordanian-Palestinian analyst, believes that the timing of the attack is not coincidental. “It happened on the same day that a meeting is due to take place in the White House to talk about the situation in Gaza.
The timing of the attack is not innocent, but is meant to send some kind of message to Ramallah and Washington,’ Kullab told Arab News.
Hamadeh Faraneh, a member of the Palestinian National Council, told Arab News that Palestinian leaders should not deviate from their goal. “The reconciliation is of utmost importance for the national interest of the Palestinian people and it must be pursued no matter what happened.”
But despite all the brave talk, the attack on the convoy of Palestinian leaders from Ramallah, deep in the Gaza Strip, will leave its scars for a long time to come.
The attack is sure to delay the visit by President Abbas to Gaza further. The president had promised to come once the reconciliation is totally in effect and the security situation is stable.

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