Friday, May 29
Latest News
  1. Iranian opposition: Iran, N. Korea 'collaborate' on nuclear arms
  2. More than 700 migrants rescued in Mediterranean
  3. Car bombs rock two upmarket Baghdad hotels, five dead
  4. Coalition strikes, fighting kill 40 rebels in Yemen's Aden
  5. Police: car bombs explode near two Baghdad hotels
  6. Myanmar rejects being 'singled out' by UN over migrant crisis at Thai
  7. Top US negotiator with Iran 'to leave after June 30 deadline'
  8. Ministry: Tunisia arrests 2nd Morocco suspect in Bardo attack
  9. Angolan activist gets six months suspended jail sentence
  10. Spain judge opens terrorism case against Boko Haram
  11. Minister: S.African president cleared in corruption scandal
  12. Etihad profits soar 52 percent on expansion, more passengers
  13. Cyprus holds Lebanese man over possible bomb material
  14. Two Saudi border guards die in Yemen shelling
  15. Catholic Church says withdrawing support for Burundi elections
  16. Libya issues warning after PM escapes assassination
  17. Nebraska becomes 19th US state to halt death penalty
  18. Referendum to ask should Britain 'remain' member of EU
  19. US army says 22 possibly exposed to anthrax at S. Korea base
  20. Minister: Malaysia believes 139 bodies in migrant graves

Hamas training diplomats, challenging PLO monopoly abroad

Sept. 5, 2012 7:38 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 7, 2012 11:47 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Reuters) -- Hamas has begun a training program for diplomats in the Gaza Strip where it rules, a senior official of the Islamist group said, raising the specter of divisions in the Palestinian national movement spreading to its representation abroad.

Hamas seized Gaza in a 2007 civil war with the Western-backed Fatah party that long dominated Palestinian politics and now rules parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. But Hamas has hitherto not challenged the PLO, dominated by Fatah and recognized by the United Nations as the Palestinians' sole representative abroad for almost 40 years.

It may be time to end that diplomatic monopoly, Hamas deputy foreign minister Ghazi Hamad suggested Wednesday.

"We have relations with some countries and we need to prepare our cadres and develop the diplomatic skills of staff to deal with those countries on joint projects," he told Reuters.

"The aim of such a step and training is to develop relations with world countries when time and conditions permit," said Hamad. He declined to say how many diplomats-in-waiting would be trained, what tasks they would perform or where.

Hamas officials seemed keen to play down the scheme to matriculate envoys from its mostly makeshift and short-staffed foreign ministry. They said they hoped a deal with Fatah could remove any need to deploy Hamas diplomats, but planned to have a corps of envoys ready should reconciliation prove impossible.

The PLO, with roots as a paramilitary organization and umbrella body for the many, often feuding Palestinian factions, finally won recognition from Israel in the landmark Oslo interim peace deal of 1993. But Hamas is not part of the PLO.

The United States and the European Union have classified Hamas as a terrorist organization over its refusal to renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept existing interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals co-authored by the PLO.

Hamas already has delegations in Yemen, Lebanon and Iran. Now Hamas' foes in the West Bank fear it aims to expand its profile after its prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, met Egypt's newly elected Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, this summer.

"We believe that our Egyptian brothers and the rest of the Arab world are aware of Israeli plans seeking to deepen Palestinian divisions, and to suggest that there are two legitimate powers, one in Gaza and the other in Ramallah," President Mahmoud Abbas told Wafa news agency.

Ramallah is the seat of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority government.

Abbas, who condemned the 2007 split as a "coup" and power grab by Hamas, has said that continued Israeli occupation could be effectively confronted -- and the Palestinians' statehood goal advanced -- if the two biggest Palestinian factions reconcile, a goal that has long eluded Qatari and Egyptian mediators.

Hamas has rejoiced in the rise to power of Islamist parties following Arab popular uprisings last year, hoping to parlay them into increased international recognition.

Iran, an important supporter of Hamas, invited Haniyeh to a summit of non-aligned nations held earlier this month. But Haniyeh declined in the face of sharp accusations by Fatah leaders that such a trip would worsen the internal discord that has damaged Palestinians' diplomatic quest for statehood.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015