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Islamic Jihad leader: Fatah, Hamas not ready to end split

May 24, 2013 12:32 P.M. (Updated: May 27, 2013 10:11 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Talks between Fatah and Hamas on Tuesday and Wednesday accomplished little as the parties failed to reach any agreement, a top Islamic Jihad official said Thursday.

Abu Imad al-Rifaei, the Islamist group's representative in a committee preparing for national elections, told Ma'an that the talks focused on the makeup of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Palestinian National Council.

But he said neither Fatah nor Hamas seemed serious about ending the division and implementing a reconciliation deal signed in 2011.

Al-Rifaei, who also serves as Islamic Jihad's representative in Lebanon, blasted the talks as a "waste of time."

He expressed strong doubts that elections were on the horizon but he said if they took place, Islamic Jihad would field candidates for the national council and PLO executive committee. The faction does not participate in legislative or presidential elections, he noted.

Asked about the situation in Syria, al-Rifaei denounced Israel's bombing in early May of a regime facility in Damascus. He says Islamic Jihad stands by any country facing Israeli attacks and will respond as it sees fit.
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