Will Palestinian Reconciliation Lead to a Hamas Takeover of the PLO?

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal reached an agreement in Cairo on 22 December on national reconciliation and a strategic partnership. A new temporary leadership was formed for the PLO, for the first time in tandem with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hamas' joining of the PLO does not herald a strategic shift in the movement's policy or recognition of the agreements the PLO has signed with Israel. The Hamas leadership keeps emphasizing that it seeks to take over the PLO after new elections to the Palestinian National Council and to alter the PLO platform in accordance with its own views.
Osama Hamdan, in charge of foreign relations for Hamas, asserted in an interview: "Whoever thinks Hamas has changed its positions and that it accepts the PLO's political platform of surrender is dreaming or fooling himself." Hamdan went on to state that "Hamas is seeking a national framework to reconstruct the PLO [and] reconsider its political platform...from the standpoint of our basic principles and rights, which do not accept bargaining, particularly [over] the liberation of our land from the river to the sea and the right of return."...

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