Hamas Leader Announces Readiness for Significant Concessions

It was reported by major news media that representatives of both Hamas and Fatah (Palestinian Authority) were in Beijing on April 26 to discuss cooperation on forming a unity government and putting an end to the slaughter in the territories. Many actors in the region have urged the Chinese to play a more active diplomatic role in the region, in particular since the successful rapprochement they mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March 2023.

The Fatah delegation to Beijing was led by the group’s senior official Azzam Al-Ahmad, while Moussa Abu Marzouk headed the rival faction. Without confirming the meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated on April 26: “We support strengthening the authority of the Palestinian National Authority, and support all Palestinian factions in achieving reconciliation and increasing solidarity through dialogue and consultation.”

This follows previous talks between delegations of Fatah and Hamas in Moscow Feb. 29-March 2, with the stated intention of working out a national unity government under the Palestinian Liberation Organization. At the time, Mustafa Barghouti, the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, said that he had “never seen the atmosphere so close to unity as it is today”.

Another high-ranking Hamas official, Khalil al-Hayya, told Associated Press that his movement wants to join the Palestine Liberation Organization to form a unified government for both territories. He said that Hamas is ready to disarm, if a Palestinian State is established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of a two-state solution to the conflict. In the interview to AP published April 24, he stated that Hamas would accept a truce of five years or more with Israel and would dissolve its military wing, in the event of “a fully sovereign Palestinian state” and “the return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with the international resolutions”, along Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

Despite such significant concessions by Hamas, Israel seems unlikely to consider such a scenario, at least under the present government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, that government claims it will go ahead with an offensive on Rafah in order to wipe out Hamas completely, its leadership and membership, no matter how many thousands of civilian deaths it would cause. Al-Hayya warned, however, that no offensive in Rafah would succeed in destroying Hamas’ capabilities.

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