debkafile’s Exclusive Sources reports Fatah and Hamas braced for armed showdown after breakdown of the Saudi-Egyptian initiative

To avert a bloody showdown, their commanders met in Gaza City and Hebron Friday night but failed to agree on a venue for talks.
Our Middle East and intelligence sources disclose: The failed peace initiative was kicked off by a Saudi invitation to Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal. They tried to prevail on him to accept a deal for Hamas and Fatah to set up a national unity government under the incumbent Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh and trade the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit kidnapped by Hamas for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including high-profile convicted terrorists.
Had Meshaal agreed to continue to Cairo to seal the plan at an Arab mini-summit with Saudi, Syrian and Egyptian officials and the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the hard-line Hamas leader would have been granted a private audience with King Abdullah and the Riyadh would have resumed its stipend to his movement. But Meshaal spurned the deal. Instead of traveling to Cairo, he went straight to Damascus Friday, having opted to stick with Tehran rather than switch to the moderate Arab camp. He also announced Shalit would not be freed and cut Hamas loose for an armed showdown with Fatah. Reading the signals, the rival Palestinian forces have called up their troops and are in heightened preparedness for battle in Gaza and the West Bank starting Saturday, Oct. 28.

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