Jihad movement responds to Egypt's reconciliation initiative
Published: Sep 27, 2009 09:45 AM Updated: May 25, 2011 01:01 PM

The Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement on Saturday gave its response to an Egyptian initiative to achieve reconciliation and end the internal Palestinian feuds.

Dawood Shihab, spokesman of the less-influential Islamic group in the Palestinian Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas, told Xinhua that "our movement is in favor of reconciliation and all the efforts to end the feuds and bring unity to our people."

Egypt, which has been sponsoring the inter-Palestinian dialogue, presented in August an initiative to the leaders of the various Palestinian factions, aiming at ending the current split and achieving inter-reconciliation between rival Fatah and Hamas.

The initiative calls on the factions to reconcile and form a joint factional committee to coordinate between Hamas-ruled Gaza and the West Bank administrated by President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

It also calls for deploying a 3,000-men security force in the Gaza Strip, and prepare for general presidential and legislative elections on June 2010. Fatah accepted the initiative, but other factions expressed reservations.

"The elections are linked to having a national accordance among all parties, and security apparatuses had to be built up in accordance to national and professional principles," said Shihab.

He stressed that his movement also supports the release of the Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank and Gaza, adding "there are many Islamic Jihad prisoners in the West Bank and this issue has to be settled."

Egypt is scheduled to invited leaders of the two rival groups, Fatah and Hamas, soon to Cairo before holding a comprehensive round of dialogue in the first week of October.

Fatah's major rival Hamas will also respond to the initiative soon. Hamas bureau chief in exile Khaled Meshaal is scheduled to arrive in Cairo on Sunday for talks and to hand the Egyptians Hamas' response to the initiative.

The Palestinian feuds between rival Fatah and Hamas reached its climax after the latter seized control of the Gaza Strip and cracked down on Fatah movement and its establishments in mid-2007.

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