US embassy cable - 90JERUSALEM3430

FATAH AND HAMAS CLAIM RECONCILIATION

Identifier: 90JERUSALEM3430
Wikileaks: View 90JERUSALEM3430 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Jerusalem
Created: 1990-09-25 12:17:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KPAL KISL PINS IS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 251217Z SEP 90
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1151
INFO AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
AMEMBASSY AMMAN
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY TUNIS
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 03430 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: KPAL, KISL, PINS, IS 
SUBJECT: FATAH AND HAMAS CLAIM RECONCILIATION 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT 
 
2.  SUMMARY: FOLLOWING TWO MONTHS OF CLASHES AND 
ACCUSATORY LEAFLETS, HAMAS AND FATAH HAVE ISSUED A 
COMMUNIQUE ANNOUNCING THEIR RECONCILIATION.  THE 
LEAFLET, WHICH CLAIMS TO SPEAK ALSO FOR THE UNLU, CALLS 
FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE TO SOLVE DIFFERENCES, RESPECT 
FOR MOSQUES AND IMAMS (PRESUMABLY A REFERENCE TO FATAH 
SUPPORTERS HAVING EJECTED SEVERAL IMAMS WHO HAD 
CRITICIZED SADDAM HUSSEIN), AND ALLEGES THAT STARTING 
WITH THEIR MOST RECENT LEAFLETS, UNLU AND HAMAS ARE 
COMMITTED TO "IMPLEMENTING THE SAME ACTIVITIES."  THE 
LEAFLET APPEARS TO GIVE GREATER STATURE TO HAMAS AND A 
DEGREE OF PARITY WITH FATAH (WHICH IT HAS NOT HAD 
BEFORE), AND IT IS WIDELY VIEWED HERE AS REFLECTING 
GAINS MADE BY ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS IN THE OCCUPIED 
TERRITORIES FOLLOWING THE BREAKDOWN OF THE PEACE PROCESS 
AND THE ERUPTION OF THE GULF CRISIS.  END SUMMARY 
 
FATAH-HAMAS DIFFERENCES 
----------------------- 
3.  A JOINT FATAH-HAMAS LEAFLET WAS ISSUED SEPTEMBER 19 
IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES ANNOUNCING RECONCILIATION 
BETWEEN FATAH AND HAMAS.  THE GROWING RIVALRY BETWEEN 
THE TWO GROUPS HAS BEEN HIGHLIGHTED OVER THE PAST TWO 
MONTHS IN A SERIES OF CLASHES AND ACCUSATORY LEAFLETS: 
 
-- IN JULY, THERE WERE CLASHES BETWEEN PLO AND HAMAS 
SUPPORTERS IN THE VILLAGE OF IDNA, NEAR NABLUS, AND IN 
NABLUS ITSELF, WHILE PLO ACTIVISTS REPORTEDLY STABBED 
TWO HAMAS-AFFILIATED VILLAGE MAYORS NEAR JENIN. 
 
-- IN AUGUST, IN RAMALLAH, HAMAS ISSUED LEAFLETS 
ATTACKING FATAH.  IN ADDITION, LOCAL IMAMS IN BETHLEHEM 
AND QALQILYA WERE REPORTEDLY EJECTED FROM THEIR MOSQUES 
BY FATAH ACTIVISTS AFTER PREACHING AGAINST IRAQ'S 
INVASION OF KUWAIT. 
 
--  ON SEPTEMBER 9 AND 10, FOLLOWING AN EARLIER INCIDENT 
IN THE VILLAGE OF BAL'A WHEN FATAH PREVENTED THE LOCAL 
IMAM FROM DELIVERING A SERMON, DOZENS OF MASKED FATAH 
AND HAMAS ACTIVISTS FOUGHT EACH OTHER WITH AXES AND 
SWORDS IN TULKAREM CAMP (WHICH, ACCORDING TO PALESTINIAN 
SOURCES QUOTED IN THE PRESS, HAS A LARGER PROPORTION OF 
HAMAS SUPPORTERS THAN ANY OTHER WEST BANK CAMP).  IN A 
BIZARRE FOLLOW-UP, THE IDF RAIDED THE TULKAREM 
MUNICIPALITY THE FOLLOWING DAY AND TEMPORARILY ARRESTED 
SOME 15 MEMBERS OF A FATAH-HAMAS RECONCILIATION 
COMMITTEE, WHICH INCLUDED THE TOWN'S MAYOR, AND EAST 
JERUSALEMITE FEISAL HUSSEINI. 
 
-- IN GAZA'S JABALYA CAMP, HAMAS ATTACKED SEVERAL 
ALLEGED MEMBERS OF THE PALESTINIAN COMMUNIST PARTY, AND 
ORGANIZED A MARCH IN WHICH THEY CHANTED SLOGANS AGAINST 
THE COMMUNISTS. 
 
-- LONG, MUTUALLY ACCUSATORY LEAFLETS ISSUED BY BOTH 
SIDES DURING THE ABOVE CLASHES HAVE CALLED FOR UNITY, 
ALLEGING THAT THE OTHER SIDE WAS MANUFACTURING INTERNAL 
CONFLICTS WHICH ONLY SERVED THE ENEMY.  FOR ITS PART, 
UNLU ANNOUNCED THAT ANY ATTACK AGAINST A FACTION OF THE 
PLO "OR A NATIONALIST INDIVIDUAL" IS AN ATTACK AGAINST 
UNLU ITSELF. 
 
-- ON SEPTEMBER 22, AFTER THE LEAFLET WAS ISSUED, A 
PROMINENT HAMAS SUPPORTER, DR. NIHAD AL-MASRI, WAS 
BEATEN IN HIS NABLUS CLINIC BY MASKED MEN.  NABLUS 
OBSERVED A GENERAL STRIKE CALLED BY HAMAS THE NEXT DAY. 
 
RECONCILIATION? 
--------------- 
 
4.  THE UNNUMBERED SEPTEMBER 19 LEAFLET, ENTITLED 
"COMMUNIQUE OF PUBLIC OPINION FROM HAMAS AND FATAH," 
ALLUDES OBLIQUELY TO THESE INCIDENTS AND OUTLINES A 
PROGRAM OF "RECONCILIATION" WHICH STRONGLY FAVORS HAMAS 
POSITIONS AND PROGRAMS.  REFERRING TO "SOME RECENT 
UNFORTUNATE INCIDENTS," THE LEAFLET SAYS THAT 
DIFFERENCES IN OPINION ARE NATURAL AND HEALTHY, AND THAT 
"A CENTRAL COMMITTEE AND DISTRICT SUB-COMMITTEES" WILL 
BE FORMED TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS.  ALL PENDING PROBLEMS 
"SHOULD BE FORGOTTEN," AND A NEW PAGE OPENED.  MOSQUES, 
AND THEIR IMAMS AND WORSHIPPERS, SHOULD BE RESPECTED. 
MOREOVER, "EVERY FACTION HAS THE RIGHT TO CARRY OUT ITS 
ACTIVITIES IN FULL, WITHOUT ANY OBJECTION FROM THE OTHER 
PARTY." 
 
5.  THE LEAFLET FURTHER STATES THAT: 
 
--  HAMAS WILL BE EQUALLY REPRESENTED IN ALL PRISON 
COMMITTEES; 
 
--  THE TWO GROUPS "ARE COMMITTED TO IMPLEMENT THE SAME 
ACTIVITIES.  EACH PARTY WILL HAVE TO IMPLEMENT THE 
OTHER'S ACTIVITIES AS IF THEY WERE ITS OWN." 
 
-- PERSONS EXPELLED FROM THEIR VILLAGES SHOULD BE 
ALLOWED TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES WITHOUT HARRASSMENT. 
 
-- THE SALARIES OF THE EMPLOYEES OF GAZA'S ISLAMIC 
UNIVERSITY WILL BE PAID IN FULL, WITHOUT 
"DISCRIMINATION." 
 
6.  THE LEAFLET CONCLUDES WITH A PAEON TO "MUJAHID" 
UNITY AND PRIDE IN ISLAMIC UNITY.  "ISLAM RUNS DEEP IN 
OUR VEINS; IT IS OUR CREED AND LIFE."  ACCORDING TO 
WEEKEND PRESS REPORTS, AN UPDATED VERSION OF THE LEAFLET 
MENTIONED PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN AS BEING "PARTNERS IN 
THE PROCESS OF SELF-DETERMINATION..." 
 
7.  COMMENT: THE LEAFLET, WHICH APPEARS TO GIVE GREATER 
STATURE TO HAMAS AND A DEGREE OF PARITY WITH FATAH 
(WHICH IT HAS NOT HAD IN THE PAST), IS WIDELY VIEWED 
HERE AS A REFLECTION OF GAINS MADE BY THE ISLAMIC 
FUNDAMENTALISTS IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES VIS-A-VIS 
THE PLO SECULAR NATIONALISTS FOLLOWING THE BREAKDOWN IN 
THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE ERUPTION OF THE GULF CRISIS. 
(PRISON BEATINGS OF HAMAS MEMBERS BY FATAH ADHERENTS 
WERE REPORTEDLY A CHRONIC SOURCE OF FRICTION, FOR 
EXAMPLE.)  A FATAH MEMBER ACTIVE IN THE DISCUSSIONS 
LEADING UP TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE LEAFLET TOLD A LOCAL 
PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST THAT THE DOCUMENT WAS VIRTUALLY 
DICTATED BY HAMAS. 
 
8.  COMMENT (CONT'D): NEVERTHELESS, WE HAVE HEARD FROM 
SEVERAL SOURCES THAT THIS "RECONCILIATION" CAN BE 
EXPECTED TO BE SHORT-LIVED.  (ALREADY, THE FATAH YOUTH 
GROUP SHABIBA HAS ISSUED A LEAFLET IN THE VILLAGE OF 
BAL'A DISMISSING THE "RECONCILIATION" AND CLAIMING THAT 
HAMAS HARRASSMENT OF FATAH LOYALISTS CONTINUES.)  WITH 
FATAH (AND UNLU) WEAKENED AND DIVIDED, HAMAS IS MAKING 
THE MOST OF POPULAR RESENTMENT AGAINST THE U.S. MILITARY 
PRESENCE IN SAUDI ARABIA (AND ALLEGED "DESECRATION OF 
MUSLIM HOLY PLACES") AND ARAFAT'S FAILURE TO GAIN FROM 
HIS 1988 "CONCESSIONS" ON THE PEACE PROCESS.  ONE 
JOURNALIST TOLD US, "THE NEW GAME IN TOWN IS 
HAMAS-FATAH, NOT ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN."  WE ARE ALSO 
HEARING RUMORS THAT THE SAUDIS AND SOME OTHER GULF 
STATES ARE TAKING REVENGE ON FATAH BY INCREASING FUNDING 
TO HAMAS TO THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PLO. 
 
 
WILCOX 

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