Hamas/Fatah Agreement: Hold the Cheers
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Numerous previous Hamas/Fatah reconciliation agreements failed after being announced. Will this one fare better? Not likely given tough unresolved issues.
On Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya issued a brief statement, saying "(a)n agreement was reached today between Hamas and Fatah under Egyptian sponsorship" - with no further elaboration.
Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Eita said details would be announced later on Thursday during a press conference.
Both groups began meeting in Cairo on Tuesday - following talks in Gaza. Reportedly Hamas agreed to let the Palestinian Authority (PA) control Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
Talks will continue on attempting to form Palestinian unity governance. Both sides have been hostile to each other for the past decade.
Hamas' military wing remains the most contentious issue. PA demands for disbanding it are unacceptable. So is insisting Hamas sever ties with Iran.
These issues and others are likely deal-breakers. Israel won't accept unity governance unless these demands are met, not likely.
Agreement so far was reached on integrating Hamas officials into PA ministries, rebuilding Gaza's police system and managing its border crossings - relatively easier issues compared to much tougher ones remaining unresolved.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said "(t)he next phase of reconciliation will be a meeting of representatives of all the Palestinian factions in Cairo to discuss the major national issues - such as Hamas' military wing, the issue of weapons and political positions."
That's when the going will get tough. Another major issue is ending Israel's illegal blockade - imposed for political reasons, not security ones. Ending the suffering of Gazans is fundamental.
Earlier Hamas agreed to let the PA administratively control the Strip. Other key issues are Palestinian elections, security, the justice system and future of the PLO.
Last week, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the future of the group's military wing is non-negotiable, stressing:
"The resistance's weapons are legal. They are here to protect Palestinians and free their lands (from Israeli occupation). Therefore, this should not be an issue to discuss."
Important to discuss is the "enhancement" of Hamas power as an armed resistance movement, he stressed. Its leadership condemned PA complicity with Israel on security issues, enforcing occupation harshness Palestinians want ended.
Abbas made unacceptable demands. He won't accept continuation of Hamas' military wing. He said reconciliation won't happen unless the PA "rules the Gaza Strip just as it does the West Bank."
Hamas won't disarm or serve as Israel's enforcer. Reconciliation resolving all tough issues won't likely happen.
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