Fatah and Hamas agreed on Thursday, July 2, to join ranks in fighting the annexation plan of far-right Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. In a joint press conference, Fatah Central Committee member, Jibril Rajoub, who spoke in Ramallah, and Hamas deputy head, Saleh Arouri, who spoke via a video link from Beirut, said that both movements should unite their ranks in fighting the Israel-American schemes against the Palestinian cause. Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) also participated in the rare, common Fatah-Hamas conference.
“The current stage is the most dangerous for our Palestinian people, which requires from all of us to rise to the challenge,” said Rajoub. “We want to come up with a strategic vision with all factions of the nationalist forces to face the current challenges.”
Rajoub stressed that both movements, Fatah and Hamas, are now required to join ranks after years of division in order to demonstrate to the international community, which has in large part expressed opposition to Israel’s plans to annex a large part of the occupied West Bank, that the Palestinian people are united in their struggle against this plan. “Our entire national project is threatened by the occupation, which is betting on the continuation of the division to strike a blow against our national cohesion in order to find a regional party that would agree to go along with its plan to settle the Palestinian issue,” the Fatah leader said.
“The effort will focus on popular resistance in which Fatah, Hamas and all their factions will participate during the coming phase, to counter annexation if the occupation decides on implementing it. And this matter is accepted by both the Fatah Central Committee and members of the political bureau of Hamas,” said Rajoub.
Hamas’s Arouri told the press conference that this meeting is an opportunity to start a new phase in serving the Palestinian people in this dangerous time. “Our clear and emphatic message from this conference to our people, to our enemies and to the whole world is that we are united against annexation, and that all of us, inside and outside of Palestine, are fighting a battle against it. This is the position of the entire Hamas leadership.”
Hadash MK Ayman Odeh attended the conference in Ramallah, and told those gathered there and at other locations linked by video that he supports all initiatives to bridge the divide between the warring Palestinian groups who have been at odds for over a decade. “I have come to the conference to support the reconciliation efforts among the Palestinians. Reconciliation between the factions is an essential step in fighting annexation, ending the occupation, and reaching a just peace,” Odeh said. “Continued division only serves those who want the occupation to continue and establish apartheid. Anyone who supports a just peace and the two-state solution must support Palestinian reconciliation.” Odeh’s presence and remarks at the conference drew immediate attacks from Netanyahu and MKs from the Israeli right.
Fatah’s Rajoub was among the participants last Saturday evening, June 27, in a protest march organized by Combatants for Peace in which several hundred Palestinian and Israeli activists took part to protest the looming annexation by Israel of parts of the occupied West Bank. The march took place near the Dead Sea and started near the entrance to Jericho, known by Israelis as the Almog Junction, and from there proceeded along Route 90, the main Israeli north-south road linking its settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley with Israel proper. The march was supported by an alliance of Palestinian and Israeli organizations working against the occupation, and, in addition to Rejoub, included as a participant the Palestinian Governor of Jericho, Jihad Abu Al-Asal.