Geneva Initiative Annexes
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Top Hamas official at a GI conference: Israel must make peace with the entire Palestinian people

24/04/2008: Top Hamas official at a GI conference: Israel must make peace with the entire Palestinian people
Date: 24.04.08

On Thursday, April 24, the Palestinian Peace Coalition-Geneva Initiative held a gathering at the Rocky Hotel in Ramallah for dozens of youths and civil society representatives. Speaking at the conference were senior members of both Hamas and Fatah, and both said Palestinian unity was essential for peace.

Former Minister of Prisoners Affairs Qadoura Fares (Fatah) and Former Minister of Education Dr. Nasser Addein Al-Shaer (Hamas) called for an end to the political division in the Palestinian society, adding that Fatah and Hamas should apologize to the Palestinian people for the bloody events that led to the collapse of the national unity government.

Dr. Al-Sha'er is Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's deputy and Hamas' strongman in the West Bank. It was the first time such a senior Hamas official appeared at a public conference held by GI, and the appearance follows several PPC-GI events held in the Gaza Strip with Hamas participation.

At the conference, Dr. Al-Sha’er said that many people in both organizations wish to see unity, and added that "Fatah and the PNA cannot advance in the peace process without cooperating with Hamas, and Hamas in Gaza cannot achieve stability and security for the people without cooperating with Fatah."

Dr. Al-Sha'er stressed that peace can only be achieved with the entire Palestinian people and not with Fatah or Hamas alone. He called on the regional and international players to recognize the importance of Palestinian national unity.
The senior Hamas Official also pointed out that calm is both a Palestinian and Israeli interest, adding that the bloodshed cannot go on forever.

Mr. Fares talked about the importance of reaching a unified political program. He stressed that national unity significantly strengthens the Palestinian negotiator.

The conference received extensive media converge, and was even broadcast live on Al-Jazeera. Additionally, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz also reported on the gathering. Below are two excerpts from Palestinian media reports on the event.

Al-Quds Daily, 25/04/2008: For the first time since Hamas control of Gaza Strip in June 2007, two Fatah and Hamas officials appeared together to talk on the negotiations and internal crisis in front of audience from the Palestinian Peace Coalition, the Palestinian side of Geneva Initiative.

Al-Ayyam Daily, 25/04/2008: It was supposed that the audience's questions, who mostly were young men and women, in a seminar held by the Palestinian Peace Coalition in "Rocky Hotel", Ramallah, hosted Dr. Nasser Addein Al-Shaer, Former Minister of Education, Vice PM (Hamas) and Mr. Qadora Fares, Former Minister of Prisoners Affairs (Fatah), were to focus on the current negotiations with Israel, then on the internal Palestinians Affairs. Yet, most questions focused on the current political differences between Fatah and Hamas. One young Palestinian asked both Al-Shaer and Qadoura: What does the Palestinian People mean to both Fatah & Hamas?