Palestinian factions Fatah, Hamas sign historic reconciliation deal.
DOHA – Rival Palestinian political factions Fatah and Hamas named President Mahmoud Abbas the head of an interim unity government during a televised signing ceremony Monday, the CNN said. The deal was signed in Doha, Qatar, by Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who said last month he plans to step down from his post. “The Palestinian reconciliation is no longer a Palestinian interest but also an Arab interest,” Abbas said.
“Both parties are serious in moving forward to fold the page of strife between both parties and to strengthen the Palestinian national unity government,” according to Meshaal. Independent Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti said the agreement represents progress. “What we see is a slow movement, and we hope that this meeting will give a push to reconciliation to go faster,” he said. “I hope that the most important thing that this agreement will lead to is actual activation of (a) real democratic system and that all obstacles that are still in the way of election will be removed.” Prime Minister Salam Fayyad expressed hope that a government headed by Abbas will be formed quickly and hold elections, “which would consequently end the internal division.” The line-up of the government will be announced on 18 February in Cairo, a Fatah official said, according to the BBC. The government will be made up of technocrats and independents, reports say. The national reconciliation agreement came together last year after lengthy negotiations. The deal establishes a new parliament and a date for general elections, tentatively scheduled for May.
The move comes amid international efforts for statehood advanced by the Palestinian Authority’s Abbas of Fatah. It could portend unity in the fractious Palestinian territories. The two political factions have been close to civil war, culminating in 2007 when Hamas took control of Gaza after deadly fighting with Fatah partisans. Fatah retained control of the other Palestinian territory, the West Bank. Israel opposes the formation of a Palestinian unity government. It views Hamas as a terrorist organisation. The Middle East Quartet of the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations insists Hamas should renounce violence, recognise Israel and back past Israeli-Palestinian agreements before a Palestinian unity government can be recognised.