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Independents talk unity in Gaza

May 29, 2010 9:29 P.M. (Updated: May 30, 2010 8:25 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – Gaza's independent politicians met in their city headquarters to discuss the means of ending Palestinian division and supporting the Egyptian-sponsored unity deal.

The independent politicians said Palestinian unity should be brought about to end fragmentation affecting Palestinians, describing inter-factional rivalry as the "new catastrophe worse than the previous."

Palestinian factions, "born of the Palestinian flag," are obliged to achieve Palestinian objectives which officials said were freeing the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in East Jerusalem, returning Palestinian refugees, and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Palestinian tycoon Munib Al-Masri said following a mid-May trip to Gaza to propose a unity deal that talks were on track between Fatah and Hamas, with a marked improvement in dialogue. Al-Masri said Egyptian efforts to mediate a reconciliation deal between the two rival factions remain significant, and that he brought answers from the Ramallah-based leadership and President Mahmoud Abbas on ongoing efforts to restore unity.

However, Fatah announced last week that the Egyptian-backed was no longer negotiable, party Central Committee member and unity talks official Azzam Al-Ahmad.

Hamas maintains that it will not ratify the document until the Islamist movement's amendments are taken into consideration, which include the restructuring of the PLO among others.

Talks remain at a standstill between the two rival parties, as an apparent increase in political arrests are on the rise by both movement's respective security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Shortly after announcing its security forces detained a high-ranking Egyptian officer, Hamas confirmed -- after weeks of rebutting -- that Egypt, sponsoring the unity deal, has severed ties with Islamist movement, reducing diplomatic ties to an "unofficial level" a representative said at the time.

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