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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hamas & Fatah held joint press conference in Cairo

Detailed info, Reactions & Expectations

Gaza, 28, Hamas and Fatah held a joint conference in Cairo on the 27th of April. They declared that both conflicted parties have signed on an initial agreement of the Palestinian reconciliation paper supported by Egyptian efforts. Azzam Al Ahmad represented Fatah while Musa Abu Marzooq represented Hamas.

Touching base on the most important issues discussed and declared during the joint conference, I concluded a few points:

1- Cairo will summon the rest of Palestinian factions to arrive and sign the final agreement of the Palestinian reconciliation by next week.

2- A technocratic government to be created to represent a unified Palestinian government.

3- Resolving all issues regarding Elections, their timing, procedures of implementing it and how it will be monitored.

4- Activate the role of the Palestinian legislative council.

5- Both representatives thanked all Arab, Islamic and international directions that helped this reconciliation happen, and stressed on the great Egyptian role and efforts.

6- They urged the Arab media to help those efforts of Palestinian reconciliation flourish, to have no mercy on any party who doesn’t work hard enough to make this reconciliation work and to be playing the role the supporting guard to this reconciliation.

7- United Palestinian is stronger than a divided one.

8- Palestinian division helped Israel take advantage of a weak Palestine.

9- Both conflicted parties should walk the road of reconciliation till the end and make it work, also the national participation should continue even after the elections and united government.

10- Both conflicted parties agreed on NOT repeating Mecca’s mistakes and failure.

11- Iran didn’t influence or pressure this reconciliation yet Iranian and Arab support is welcomed.

12- Naming the prime minister and ministers of the new technocratic government would be next Wednesday after signing the final agreement on the Palestinian reconciliation by all Palestinian factions.

13- The Arab revolution and the New Egypt had a definite impact on the Palestinian efforts towards reconciliation.

Both conflicted parties were asked about the guarantees given to prove that this time the reconciliation will work and last, they both answered saying their commitment is the solid guarantee.

News also reorted that Mahmud Abbas, Palestinian president is said to arrive to Gaza through Rafah border along with Khlaed Meshaal, Chairman of Hamas Political Bureau when the reconciliation is final.

As for the Israeli reaction on the Palestinian reconciliation, Israeli PM, Netanyahu renewed his threats to the PA asking them to choose between Hamas and the peace negotiations with Israel, which was answered later by the PA by asking Netanyahu to choose between peace and colonization, showing that they clearly chose the Palestinian unity.

A second reaction came when Israeli tanks and bulldozers suddenly advanced into Rafah only minutes after the declaration of the Palestinian initial agreement on reconciliation.

The IMEU (Institute of Middle East Understanding) issued a few reactions of influential figures:

Rashid Khalidi

Inter-Palestinian reconciliation and elections -- both for Palestinians under occupation and those in the diaspora -- are the esssential preconditions for establishing a unified national movement and a consensus on a strategy for liberation. Without these things, the Palestinians have little hope of changing their situation, which is characterized by occupation and dispossession. This agreement, one of the first fruits of the fall of the Mubarak regime and the Arab spring, will hopefully be a step in that direction.

Eyad Sarraj

This is a very important breakthrough in the Palestinian internal conflict, which has lasted for 4 years and has resulted in serious political and social damage. By agreeing on a resolution and reconciliation of the divide, the Palestinians are putting themselves on the right road for liberation and statehood. The most important meaning of the agreement is the principle of sharing power and democratically competing for it. This agreement means Hamas will enter the PLO leadership and all other issues including security, forming government and elections will be dealt with through agreement. Without the Egyptian revolution, and change of the regime, it would have been very difficult to reach this agreement.

Nadia Hijab

This is the first concrete sign of how the Arab spring will impact the Israeli-Arab balance of power and the US Middle East role. After failed attempts by the former Egyptian leadership, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar among others, and despite concerted Israeli-US attempts to stymie reconciliation, the new Egyptian leadership has seemingly scored a success. Fatah and Hamas suddenly need each other given Fatah's loss of Hosni Mubarak's and Hamas' reliance on a suddenly precarious Syria, and demands for unity by Palestinian youth. The deal underscores the US administration's fading ability to influence events, and the new realities Israel must deal with. There will be much to watch in the months leading up to the Palestinians' request for full membership in the UN.

Diana Buttu

Israel's greatest fear is to face a united Palestinian polity that demands its rights, as was stated earlier this month by Israeli PM Netanyahu. It is important to remember that one of the biggest obstacles to Palestinian unity was international interference, particularly interference by the United States and the EU. This is an important step in Palestinian history and I hope that this agreement will lead to a broader Palestinian strategy on how to effectively challenge Israel's military rule, its apartheid system and its denial of Palestinian freedom.

Raji Sourani

A continuation of split is suicidal for the Palestinian cause and people. The Palestinian leadership has no right or reason to continue the split. The most recent Israeli leadership has embarked on war crimes; through humiliation and social and economic suffocation - leaving Palestinians in their worst situation since the Nakba. This Israeli government has no agenda for peace. There is nothing left for the Palestinians to be divided about: it is politically meaningless to continue the Palestinian split. Palestinian people will not forgive or forget any political party who will continue to keep the Palestinians away from a path toward, unity, liberation and freedom.

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The Palestinian street reacted in different ways, some started celebrating right away in Gaza and the west bank and abroad while others chose to be optimistic but careful since a failure occurred before. On the other hand, some others chose to be totally optimistic saying this wont change and the reconciliation wont hold enough to become reality, instead it will soon fail and Palestinians everywhere will be disappointed. Arabs rushed to congratulate their Palestinian friends and prayed for the reconciliation to last this time.

Many speculations are being spread around on the reconciliations and expectations of either disappointing failure or mass success that will make Palestinians everywhere happy and excited. A new Israeli war on Gaza expected by Israel since the Israeli PM rushed to show anger and start threatening the PA which showed that they will attempt to halt, spoil or impact the reconciliation in any way possible.

Palestinians everywhere considered this step as the first step towards a free Palestine, many even considered this as the end of Gaza’s siege and Rafah border’s ordeal.

Palestinian reconciliation's news immediately made world news and was first news on New York Times, Haaretz, Reuters and numerous other international top media venues.

So the questions every Palestinian is asking now: will this reconciliation hold or fail? How will It impact the life of Palestinians? And How will Israel react?

To stay updated follow me on twitter: @Omar_Gaza
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