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Haaretz.com: Fatah and Hamas agree to historic Palestinian reconciliation deal


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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement hammered an historic reconciliation deal with the rival Hamas group on Wednesday, agreeing to form an interim government and fix a date for general election within the year.

The deal, which took many officials by surprise, was thrashed out in Egypt and followed a series of secret meetings.

"The two sides signed initial letters on an agreement. All points of differences have been overcome," said Taher Al-Nono, the Hamas government spokesman in Gaza. He added that Cairo would shortly invite both sides to a signing ceremony.

"We have agreed to form a government composed of independent figures that would start preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections," said Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah's negotiating team in Cairo.

"Elections would be held in about eight months from now," he added.

Abbas has been making a heavy push for reconciliation with Hamas, with which it held a unity government that collapsed during a five-day civil war in 2007 and ended with the Islamic militant group seizing power in the Gaza Strip. Fatah had already signed the reconciliation agreement in October 2009, but Hamas had until now refused to give up on demands it had set before the rival group.

I suspect this is one of those cases where, whether this is a good deal or a terrible one, depends on the details, and on the compliance of the parties.

(Which might simply be a complicated way of saying "I'm massively ignorant on this subject, but I'm trying to sound intellectual".)

Still, my Inner Optimist seizes (desperately) on every event of this type and tries (desperately) to paint it as the breaking of the dam which will lead to global harmony.

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I'm hopeful about this, that maybe it will mean some sort of actual push to end the violence by both Hamas and Israel...but so far Israel hasn't shown much willingness to get along with it's neighbors of late and Hamas has shown what they do when they're in power. So I'm a little skeptical that they will really share power or open up their territory to true democracy again. I worry that this may be more of an attempt by Hamas to trick the Fatah into giving them complete control of Palestine. We'll have to see what happens. I'll try to remain cautiously hopeful though here, lol.

(Surprised it took this long for a thread to pop up on this news.)

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