Hamas, Fatah vow to end violent feud

Leaders of Palestinian factions including rivals Fatah and Hamas have pledged to refrain from violence in settling Palestinian problems after a firefight between Hamas activists and Palestinian police left three dead.

    Faction leaders met in the Syrian capital of Damascus

    Farouk Kaddoumi, a leader of Fatah, the ruling faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the exiled leaders of Palestinian groups agreed in Damascus that dialogue should be the only way to solve their disputes.
       
    Listing the decisions of their meetings, Kaddoumi said the leaders agreed to "call all Palestinian powers and factions to ban the use of weapons to solve internal differences".
      
    Kaddoumi said the leaders also agreed to "refrain from all forms of political and media provocations that can harm the interests of our people and their national unity".

    Right to resist

    Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal acknowledged the call, but defended his group's right to resist Israeli occupation and to have a role in Palestinian political life at the same time. 

    "So long as our land is occupied it is the right of the Palestinian people and their factions to combine resistance and political activities"

    Khaled Meshaal,
    Hamas leader

    "So long as our land is occupied it is the right of the Palestinian people and their factions to combine resistance and political activities. Resistance and its arms are directed against the occupation while political activity is part of re-arranging the Palestinian home," said Meshaal.
       
    But "we refuse any inclination towards internal feuding because our fixed national principles set Palestinian blood as a taboo," he told reporters after the meeting that also comprised senior leaders of key factions,  the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
       
    On Sunday, a Palestinian police commander and two civilian bystanders were killed in firefights between policemen and Hamas fighters. Fifty people were wounded when armed men tried to storm a police station shortly afterwards, police said. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


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