Hniyeh Greets Top Fatah Leader In Gaza

Source: The Palestine Telegraph


Gaza, February 04, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) -De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh welcomed Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha’ath into his home in the Ash-Shati refugee camp on Thursday, along with delegations of Fatah and Hamas leaders in Gaza.

The visit came after Sha’ath spent the day touring Al-Azhar University and civil service institutions in the Strip. At the university he met the board of trustees, staff and several members of the student senate, with whom he discussed the school’s academic and administrative policies.

The Fatah leader visited the home of the late Yasser Arafat and toured its gardens, paying a social visit to Arafat’s sister Khadija and learning about her social programs and their goals.

Sha’ath arrived in Gaza on Wednesday afternoon via the Erez crossing. It was his first visit to the area since the Hamas takeover in 2007 and marks the first time a Fatah member visited the Strip since the sixth Fatah conference in August.

The trip came amidst controversy in Gaza, with Hamas officials threatening to require permits authorized by the government before Fatah leaders would be allowed to enter. The governor of central Gaza, Abdullah Abu Samhadana, publicly objected to the rumored ban, saying Palestinians should always have the right to return to their homeland no matter their political affiliation.

Officials expect Sha’th will be in Gaza for several days, and sources said he would hold meetings with members of all political groups including Hamas, likely around issues of reconciliation.

Representative of the independent figures in Gaza Yasser Al-Wadiya called the visit a great effort to begin the end of division between the two parties. Al-Wadiya was one of the members of the welcoming committee who received Sha’ath, along with other independents.

Al-Wadiyah called for investigations into why unity talks had so far failed, and urged sides to drop pretense and bring together all Palestinians in the interest of the national struggle.

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