Rival Palestinian factions 'pen joint letter to Biden administration'

Hamas and Fatah 'pen joint letter' to Biden administration agreeing 'Palestinian state on 1967 borders'
3 min read
22 February, 2021
The reported letter comes following recent talks between Fatah and Hamas officials, ahead of national elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The letter's veracity is yet to be confirmed by Fatah or Hamas officials [
Rival Palestinian factions have sent a joint letter to the administration of US President Joe Biden in which they appear to agree on backing a future Palestinian state along 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Palestinian news site Amad first reported the development after allegedly obtaining a copy of the letter which was sent by the Palestinian Administration's (PA) Minister for Civil affairs Hussain Al-Sheikh and addressed to Hady Amr, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

It comes after talks were held in Cairo between Fatah and Hamas officials ahead of national Palestinian elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The letter describes a "consensus" reached by all Palestinian factions in early September, including Hamas, the Islamist party which control the Gaza strip.

The letter lists five articles, which include commitments to "a Palestinian State based of the borders of 1967 and East Jerusalem as its capital", as well as recognising the "PLO as the political umbrella and the legitimate sole representative of the Palestinian people".

Another article states a commitment to the principle of "peaceful transfer of power through elections". The last Palestinian national elections in 2005 led to clashes between Fatah and Hamas.

The veracity of the letter is yet to be officially confirmed by either Hamas, Fatah, or the Biden administration – the letter's apparent recipient.

This has not stopped the outrage expressed by some Palestinian factions.

Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) strongly distanced themselves from the letter's contents in comments to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister-site.

Responding to the reported acceptance of a state along pre-1967 borders, the militant group said: "Squandering a grain's worth of Palestine is a crime and betrayal of the blood of martyrs and the families of prisoners."

PIJ's anger was shared by the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), who said that no one had the right to claim a national consensus on "surrendering any part of historic Palestine".

Read also: Palestinian elections 2021: Reconciling competing motives

Amad is Cairo-based news site owned by Mohamed Dahlan, an exiled former member of Fatah who lives in the UAE and is considered a rival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, according to human rights groups.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a decree in mid-January this year to hold legislative elections on 22 May and presidential elections on 31 July.

Fatah and Hamas agreed on the modalities of the elections in their meeting in Cairo, including setting up an electoral tribunal and vowing to respect the ballot results.

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