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Palestinian Unity Deal Announced - by Stephen Lendman
On April 27, the International Middle East Media Center headlined, "Rival Palestinian Factions Reach Reconciliation Agreement," saying:
Meeting in Cairo, Palestinian media sources announced a Hamas - Fatah reconciliation draft agreement, signaling hope for rapprochement between the two sides.
Both parties agreed to form a transitional government soon. The two delegations, headed by Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal discussed security issues and ways to coordinate forces on both sides. They also chose an election date, but didn't disclose it.
"A Hamas official (Izzat Ar-Rishiq) reported that all points of differences with Fatah have been overcome....Egyptian sources said that the two parties will be invited into Egypt soon (for an) official signing ceremony."
Egypt's official MENA news agency confirmed "a complete understanding after talks on all the points, including the formation of a transitional government with a specific mandate and setting a date for elections."
Fatah delegation chief Azzam Al-Ahmad confirmed the report, saying both sides agreed to a "government of independents....tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year."
Palestinian factions welcomed the announcement, hoping years of conflict would end. Islamic Jihad's Khaled Al Batsh said his organization welcomed the development, hoping implementation will begin quickly. He also called for ending West Bank political arrests, saying Palestinian priorities include resistance, unity, independence, the right of return, and Jerusalem as Palestine's capital.
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