Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani
"CAIRO, Nov 19 (IPS) - Palestinian resistance factions were roundly blamed in the mainstream media for their last-minute decision to boycott last week's Egypt-sponsored "comprehensive dialogue" summit, ostensibly aimed at Palestinian national reconciliation. But some independent commentators say the move, led by Gaza-based resistance faction Hamas, was justified.
"It's unreasonable to expect Hamas to hold 'dialogue' when the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) is persecuting its members in the West Bank," Magdi Hussein, secretary-general of Egypt's Islamist-leaning Labour Party, officially suspended since 2000, told IPS......
The Labour Party's Hussein, however, takes a different view, saying that Hamas's decision to boycott the summit -- given the circumstances -- was entirely justified.
"The Ramallah-based PA continues to arrest and torture Hamas members in the West Bank by the hundreds, while shutting down the group's offices and media organs," he said. "If Hamas attended the summit under such circumstances, it would be seen to be negotiating from a position of obvious weakness."
While much of the mainstream media has portrayed the Fatah-Hamas rift as an inter-Palestinian dispute, Hussein sees it more as a contest between "those resisting occupation and those cooperating with it."
"There is very close security coordination between Ramallah and Israel -- a fact made obvious by the ongoing arrest of Hamas members in the West Bank," he said. "There is also a measure of political coordination, evidenced by the long-standing siege of the Gaza Strip, in which the PA is tacitly complicit."
Hussein went on to support claims by Hamas that Fatah was "under orders" from the U.S. and Israel -- both of which call Hamas a "terrorist organisation" -- not to make peace with the resistance group.
"This can be seen by the fact that different reconciliation initiatives, sponsored by different countries, have all failed to bridge outstanding differences," he said, pointing to the 2007 Mecca Agreement, the 2008 Yemeni Initiative and the current round of Egyptian mediation.
"Unfortunately, those cooperating with the occupation say they're negotiating with Israel to realise Palestinian rights," added Hussein. "When, in actuality, the leadership in Ramallah belongs entirely to Israel and the U.S., and is fully incapable of independent decision-making.""