Hamas, Fatah Accept Makkah Talks

The rival Hamas and Fatah groups accepted a Saudi invitation for talks in the holy city of Makkah to settled their bloody power struggle that has claimed the lives of many innocent Palestinians.

Hamas, Fatah Accept Makkah Talks

"The leadership of Hamas favorably welcomes the invitation of the Saudi king for a meeting with our brothers in the Fatah movement to address our problems and to reach an accord to form a national unity government," Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal told Agence France-Presse (AFP) by telephone from Damascus.

The Hamas-led government also backed the Saudi invitation.

"We welcome the invitation by His Majesty King Abdullah and the government appreciates this generous position, which comes in an attempt to resolve Palestinian internal differences," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Taher An-Nono.

King Abdullah earlier Sunday offered to host talks between the rival factions aimed at ending their "disgraceful" fighting.

"I invite my brothers of the Palestinian people, represented by their leaders ... to a quick meeting in their brotherly homeland Saudi Arabia ... to discuss their differences without any intervention from outside parties," he said in an open letter.

"What is happening on the pure land of Palestine is a disgrace, which has tarnished the history of the honorable national struggle of the people of Palestine."

The monarch proposed the holy city of Makkah as a venue for the Palestinian talks.

Twenty-four Palestinians, including young children, have been killed in three days of fierce infighting in the Gaza Strip since Thursday.

Tensions had flared between the rival factions after President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to cal snap presidential and legislative elections.

Hamas, which won a resounding election victory exactly one year ago and has struggled to govern since then in the face of international isolation, denounced the call as a "coup d'etat".

Waiting  

"What is happening on the land of Palestine is a disgrace," said king Abdullah. (Reuters)

The Doha-based Al-Jazeera news television said the once-dominant Fatah has also accepted the Saudi Invitation.

It gave no more details.

Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior Fatah official and aide to Abbas, earlier said Fatah had not yet formally received an invitation and would wait until it arrived before responding.

Abbas and Meshaal met in Damascus earlier this month to iron out their differences, but they said they needed to hold further talks.

In Gaza's Tal al-Hawa, a middle-class neighborhood housing journalists, doctors and civil servants, the buildings are riddled with bullet holes and windows have been shattered.

"This neighborhood has become a ghost town in a state of war," Jumaa al-Saqqa, a resident and a doctor in Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, told AFP.

The streets are deserted, as few people brave stepping outside of the relative safety of their homes. The stores have been shut for two days.

It is the same scene throughout Gaza City, where many streets have been barricaded amid the fighting.

Overnight and well into Sunday, dozens of ruling Hamas fighters confronted member of the preventative security force, loyal to Fatah, which has its headquarters in the neighborhood.

"The shooting didn't stop all through the night," Saqqa said in a tired voice.

"At most, we had a few moments of reprieve before they started shooting again.

"For two days, we no longer sleep," he added.

"We can't even move about freely inside our homes. We have to remain below windows or be behind walls" so as not to fall victim to stray bullets, Saqqa complained.

"We are living in indescribable and alarming conditions."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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