debkafile Exclusive: Hamas’ hard-line Khaled Meshaal, armed with 5-point compromise plan, promises a reconciliation summit in Mecca
Saudi King Abdullah is assured his mediation will bring the Hamas-Fatah peace conference in Mecca Tuesday, Feb. 6, to a successful conclusion. The pledge has come from the tougher side of the two parties as represented by Hamas’ Damascus-based leader Khaled Meshaal.
Meshaal will be coming to the Mecca summit with a five-point compromise plan: 1. Hamas will refrain from reacting to Israel’s counter-terror forays against its operatives on the West Bank as well as from mounting attacks on Israel from that territory. 2. Hamas will not fight Fatah to the finish in the current round of factional war in the Gaza Strip – which has cost more than two dozen lives, many of them civilian, and extensive disruption – although a victory is within its reach. 3. Hamas renounces any intention of displacing Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as head of the Palestinian Authority in the domestic, inter-Arab or international arenas. 4. If the Mecca summit ends in a peace accord, Hamas undertakes to force its acceptance on the Jihad Islami and the Popular Resistance Committees. 5. Following a reconciliation in Mecca, Hamas will seek agreement with Israel for a long-term “hudna” – a lull in warfare – through all available channels – direct or by means of intermediaries, twice or three times removed.
With this plan in hand, Meshaal gave the Saudi monarch advance assurances that for Hamas a failed summit is not an option.
According to debkafile‘s Palestinian sources, the Meshaal plan has run into some opposition in the Hamas Shura Council, the organization’s senior political and military decision-making authority. But Meshaal is confident he can carry it through.
Our Middle East sources disclose the motivations behind Hamas’ five-point plan.
First: By Sunday, Feb. 5, Hamas was gaining in the battle against the Fatah fighting groups led by Muhammad Dahlan and saw, that with a final spurt, they could be defeated. Nonetheless, Meshaal held Hamas back from the coup de grace.
debkafile‘s military sources disclose the turning-point occurred late last week when Hamas enlisted the Popular Resistance Committees led by Zakariya Durmush. Hamas had captured Dahlan’s brother with documents attesting to Fatah’s plan to assassinate Durmush. A bomb car which Dahlan’s men had rigged for the murder also came to light. This evidence persuaded the PRC to cross the lines to Hamas.
Second: Hamas had determined to avert at all costs an Israeli military strike against the Gaza Strip which would have wipe out Hamas’ military infrastructure and missile stocks.
Third: The Saudi king is expected to present a reconstituted Middle East peace plan at an Arab summit in March. Hamas reckons the plan has a good chance of a positive response in principle from Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. In these circumstances, Hamas finds joining a potential inter-Arab consensus more expedient than a posture of intransigence, especially as the consensus also favors the establishment of a Palestinian unity government for the purpose of breaking out of the US-European-Israeli embargo against the Hamas government. The embargo was again confirmed by the Middle East Quartet last Friday.
For these reasons, the Mecca summit may also reach accord on a Palestinian national coalition. Fatah and Hamas have concurred tentatively on Hamas’ Ismail Haniya remaining as prime minister at the head of a unity government, leaving all six key portfolios to Fatah, including finance. The much debated interior ministry which controls Palestinian security forces will be assigned to a neutral figure. Hamas will hold nine second-string portfolios, but also an overall majority in the Palestinian cabinet.