Palestinian leader Abu Mazen arrived in Washington with a long list of tough demands from President Bush
debkafile Exclusive: To avoid putting backs up in Washington, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas held off steps for improving Hamas’s political standing until after his White House talks on Oct. 20.
He postponed the Gaza City municipal election in which Hamas was certain of a landslide victory; he suspended the operation of a new supra-governmental body made up of the secretaries-general of all the Palestinian organizations in which Hamas and Jihad Islami were awarded representation. Abbas also delayed expanding the PLO executive to include Hamas delegates. Hamas’ overall leader Khaled Mashal angrily accused Abu Mazen of going back on pledges he gave the heads of radical Palestinian organizations when he visited Damascus earlier this year.
In the last few days, the southern Gazan towns of Rafah and Khan Younes have been beset with bloody confrontations between Hamas and Jihad Islami adherents provoked by Jihad charges that the Hamas is actively dividing the movement. In Khan Younes, two clans are battling for control of the town, the Awads who are sponsored jointly by Fatah and Jihad Islami, and the pro-Hamas al-Masris.