Abbas' Mystery Meeting – to be with Hamas?

The hints have been coming for two days. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is going to have an important meeting “outside the homeland” today, Sunday 3 January.

Nabil Abu Rudeina dropped hints (slighly misleading) on Thursday, Yasser Abed Rabbo said it on Saturday… Now, the hints are leading in the direction of an Abbas-Hamas direct meeting.

It would be the first in a very long time, the first since the June 2007 “coup” in which Hamas routed Fatah/Palestinian Security Forces in Gaza. Abu Mazen’s position has hardly changed: Hamas must return to the status quo ante — that is, the Palestinian Authority must be restored in Gaza.

Abu Mazen was absent from Fatah’s 45th-anniversary musical gala at Ramallah’s Cultural Palace on Saturday evening, because he was travelling.

Now, Reuters is reporting, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (based in Damascus in recent years) is in Saudi Arabia for meetings in “in a possible bid to narrow the rift between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, an official source said … ‘He arrived today. The visit is aimed at helping Palestinian reconciliation’, a senior foreign ministry official said”.

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