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Palestinian Unity: Done Deal or Wobbly?

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Palestinian Unity: Done Deal or Wobbly? - by Stephen Lendman

A previous article explained the announced deal, accessed through the following link:

click here

In late April, Fatah and Hamas announced a reconciliation draft agreement, including a transitional government and planned presidential and legislative elections within a year. 

It signaled hope for rapprochement between the two sides, as well as better prospects for Palestinian independence within 1967 borders, UN membership, achieving peace, and ending Israel's 44 year occupation. However, fulfillment faces long odds without strong Western backing, unlikely to surface given determined Israeli and Washington pressure to subvert it.

Despite unresolved issues between the two sides, AFP writer Nasser Abu Bakr headlined on May 3, "Palestinian factions sign unity deal in Cairo," saying:

"Representatives of 13 factions (including Fatah and Hamas), as well as independent political (groups), inked the deal following talks with Egyptian officials."

According to PLO member Bilal Qassem, "All the Palestinian factions signed the document at a meeting with Egyptian intelligence officials."

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Palestine People's Party member Walid al-Awad said:

"We signed the deal despite several reservations. But we insisted on working for the higher national interest. We have discussed all the reservations. Everyone has agreed to take these points into consideration."

At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu denounced it, calling it "a hard blow to the peace process" he fundamentally rejects as a waste of time based on earlier comments.

Of course, signing ceremonies are one thing, commitment and follow through another, as well as fine print deal details. More on them below.

On May 4, Haaretz writers Jack Khoury and Avi Issacharoff headlined, "Report: Fatah-Hamas unity deal delayed over Palestinian Authority foreign policy," saying:

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At issue is "Abbas' insistence that he be the sole speaker at the (formal ceremony). This move allegedly implies his expect(ation) to be the" the interim government's head of state, letting him control Palestinian foreign policy and other key issues.

Fatah supports negotiating Israel's version of peace, what Hamas opposes knowing what's agreed won't be equitable. Nonetheless, its leaders, including Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyah, are willing to recognize Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state within 1967 borders, just 22% of their original homeland, a deal Israel rejects.

Updating their article, Khoury and Issacharoff said Abbas and Mashaal both spoke at the ceremony, Mashaal saying:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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