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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Netanyahu Furious, Palestinians and Egyptians Celebrating Fat'h and Hamas Reconciliation Agreement in Cairo

Editor's Note

April 27, 2011

by Hassan El-Najjar:

The two main Palestinian political parties, Fat'h and Hamas,  signed an initial reconciliation agreement in Cairo today. This is a breakthrough credited to the Egyptian revolution, which has changed the Egyptian policy towards the main cause of the Arab Nation, the Palestinian cause.

The Mubarak pro-Israel regime maintained the Palestinian disunity through its tough stance against Hamas, isolating it, and participating in the Israeli-led siege of the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to force Hamas to recognize the Israeli theft of the Palestinian land.

Netanyahu is furious, Palestinians are celebrating!

This is a sign of a new dawn in the Middle East!

Egypt is coming back to the arms of its Arab Nation.


Palestinian Factions Welcome Fat'h-Hamas Draft Unity Deal

Wednesday April 27, 2011 21:39 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Palestinian factions welcomed on Wednesday a draft unity deal that was signed in Cairo on Wednesday between the rival Fat'h and Hamas movements, and expressed hopes that the four years of internal conflict will come to an end.

Cairo will be asking the Palestinian factions to sign the final deal next week.

The new interim government will be appointed by consensus, and will be in charge of preparing for general and presidential elections.

Khaled Al-Batsh of the Islamic Jihad stated that his movement welcomes this important development, and called for a fast and actual implementation.

Al-Batsh also called for ending the file of political arrests in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and added that protecting the resistance, the national interests and boosting Palestinian steadfastness are top priorities.

He said that guarantees must be provided to ensure actual implementation, and stressed on the importance of a unified Arab-Palestinian stance regarding Palestinian independence, the Right of Return of the refugees, and Jerusalem, the capital of the anticipated state.

Al-Batsh further stated that Egypt will invite the Palestinian factions to hold consultation talks for two days in order to agree on an interim government tasked with starting preparations for general elections that would be held within a year. Political leaders and independent figures will be invited.

Deputy head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr. Ahmed Bahar of Hamas, welcomed that deal and described it as historic. He also thanked Egypt for its important role in hosting and moderating Palestinian unity talks.

Dr. Mahmoud Zahhar of Hamas stated that an agreement was made to appoint 12 judges as members of the Elections Court, adding that this agreement will be presented to Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, for approval.

He said that consecutive legislative and presidential elections will be held within a year after signing the final deal.

Zahhar further stated agreements were reached on most of the main issues that obstructed reconciliation.

The Hamas leader added that an agreement was reached to reform the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in order to restructure it to include all factions.

Hamas leader, Prime Minister of the Hamas-led government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, also welcomed the deal and stated that the movement has always supported unity efforts and is interested in a solid deal that protects the national Palestinian interests.

Dr. Abdul-Aziz Shiqaqi, head of the coalition of independent figures in the Gaza Strip, told the Ma'an News Agency that this deal is a new grounds and a new phase of reconciliation.

Al-Shiqaqi called on all factions to support unity efforts, and thanked Egypt for its important role.

Khalil Assaf, representative of Independent Figures in the West Bank, stated that this deal is the best and most important event for the Palestinians this year.

Assaf told the Maan News Agency that unity is the wish that every Palestinian carried for many years, and called for actual implementation of the deal.

Azzam Al-Ahmed, head of the Fat'h parliamentary bloc, the second largest bloc after Hamas, said that a technocrat interim government will be announced, and that this government will represent the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian People Party (PPP) also welcomed the deal and called for implementing all what have been agreed upon during previous rounds of talks.

The PPP also called for diplomatic moves to gather international support for the recognition of a Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital.

Netanyahu Slams Palestinian Unity Deal

Wednesday April 27, 2011 22:02 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Israeli occupation government so-called prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party, denounced on Wednesday the draft agreement of Palestinian unity, and added that “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chose peace with Hamas instead of peace with Israel”.

Netanyahu said that peace with Israel and reconciliation with the Hamas movement cannot go hand in hand, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported.

The Israeli Prime Minister said that “peace with both Israel and Hamas is impossible, adding that Hamas believes in the destruction of Israel and in ongoing firing of shells into Israeli areas.

He claimed that this reconciliation with the Islamic Movement (Hamas) is in indication that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is weak, and claimed that this could mean that Hamas will take control over the West Bank.

The Israeli Prime Minister is said to be planning to head to Washington next month to address the Congress and present a plan he claims to be an effort to restart the stalled talks with the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian-Israel talks have been stalled since September of last year after Israel resumed its construction and expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem.

The P.A said talks with Israel cannot be resumed while it constructs and expands settlements, and while it is ongoing with its invasions and assaults against the Palestinian people, their lands and property, and their holy sites.
It also demanded Israel to stop the demolishing of Arab homes in Jerusalem.

Different Hamas leaders, leaders of Fat'h movement, leftist factions and independent figures in Palestine expressed support to the draft unity deal and called for ensuring the success of the final reconciliation agreement that will be signed in Cairo next week.

The Hamas movement said that Israel has no interest in Palestinian unity and will continue to in order to sabotage a united Palestinian front that counters the occupation and seeks liberation.

The deal came as a surprise amidst endless round of deadlock reconciliation talks mediated by Cairo.

Egypt hosts initial signing of Palestinian reconciliation deal

[ 27/04/2011 - 07:34 PM ]


Egypt has hosted the first signing of a reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fat'h, senior Hamas politburo official Izzat al-Resheq tells the PIC.

Egypt will invite various factions to sign the final agreement within the week in the presence of Hamas politburo chairman Khaled Mesha'al and Fat'h chief Mahmoud Abbas.

He said a press conference will be held at 8pm concerning the issue.

Head of the Palestinian center for studies Ibrahim Al-Derawi said that delegations from Hamas and Fat'h factions resumed on Wednesday the inter-Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo.

Derawi added member of Hamas's political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouq and senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed led their delegations.

Sources told the PIC on Wednesday that the parties came to understanding on many pending issues related to Palestinian reconciliation.

Rival Palestinian Factions Reach Reconciliation Agreement
Wednesday April 27, 2011 19:35 by George Rishmawi - IMEMC News
Hamas and Fatah sign a reconciliation draft agreement in Cairo Egypt Wednesday evening following rounds of talks, with hope to end a four-year internal unrest in the Palestinian Territories, Palestinian media sources reported.

Cartoon by Palestinian Cartonnist Majed Badra

Both parties agreed, under Egyptian supervision, to form a transitional government soon. The two delegations, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Fatah movement and Khaled Mashaal, Hamas' politburo chief, discussed the security issue and ways to coordinate the two security forces that Hamas and Fatah control. They have set a date for general elections to take place, however, it is not disclosed yet.

A Hamas official reported that all points of differences with Fatah have been overcome. During the past month, Palestinian youth protested in a number of West Bank and Gaza areas calling for ending division.

Egyptian sources said that the two parties will be invited into Egypt soon to an official signing ceremony.

Nine Palestinians released from Egyptian prisons

[ 27/04/2011 - 11:56 AM ]


Egypt released noon Wednesday nine Palestinians held in the Qanatir prison after they were promised to be released last Monday.

Imad al-Sayyid, spokesman for the committee of families of prisoners in Egypt, confirmed to the Palestinian Information Center that the men are already on their way home to the Gaza Strip.

Sayyid said the nine men released were Palestinians. Three of them were nabbed on political accusations, and the other six were suspected of smuggling goods from Egypt through secret tunnels, he said.

He added that Egyptian authorities promised about a week ago to release the men, but that was delayed until Wednesday because of holidays celebrating the liberation of the Sinai Peninsula.

23 more Palestinians remain detained in Egyptian prisons, Sayyid added.

He said there is news on the release of three others from the notorious Al-Aqrab prison, information he said has not yet been confirmed.

Hamas and Fat'h restart reconciliation talks in Cairo

[ 27/04/2011 - 12:01 PM ]


Head of the Palestinian center for studies Ibrahim Al-Derawi said that delegations from Hamas and Fat'h factions resumed on Wednesday the inter-Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo.

Derawi added member of Hamas's political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouq and senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed led their delegations.

"Cairo started to sponsor extensive and secret talks with all Palestinian factions in order to end the division and achieve the reconciliation," he said.

"The meetings between Fat'h and Hamas today will be culminated with an agreement to be declared soon ending the Palestinian division, especially since Cairo wants to be an honest and neutral mediator between all parties," Derawi expressed his belief.


Fat'h, Hamas in unity govt 'understanding'

Published yesterday (updated) 28/04/2011 02:28 CAIRO (Ma'an) --

Rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fat'h reached an "understanding" in Cairo on Wednesday to set up a transitional unity government and hold elections, Hamas and Fatah sources said.

Hamas leader Izzat Al-Rishiq confirmed the initial agreement. Al-Rishiq said Cairo will call all factions to sign the final reconciliation within the week with the presence of Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mesha'al.

Egypt's official MENA news agency said the factions "reached 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."

Egypt will now call a meeting of all Palestinian factions to sign a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, MENA added.

Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed confirmed the report and said the two sides had agreed to set up a "government of independents."

"This government will be tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year," Ahmad said in a phone call in Ramallah.

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu reacted immediately, demanding that President Mahmoud Abbas "choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas."

Netanyahu said such an agreement paved the way for Hamas to take control of the West Bank too, where Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have their headquarters.

"The Palestinian Authority must choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There cannot be peace with both because Hamas strives to destroy the state of Israel and says so openly," Netanyahu said.

"I think that the very idea of reconciliation shows the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and creates the prospect that Hamas could retake control of Judea and Samaria just like it took control of the Gaza Strip," he said, referring to the West Bank.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Abbas, dismissed these remarks.

"In reaction to Netanyahu's remarks we say that Palestinian reconciliation and the agreement reached today in Cairo is an internal Palestinian affair," Nabil Abu Rudeina said.

Netanyahu, he said, "must choose between peace and settlements."

The United States, meanwhile, said it supported Palestinian reconciliation on terms "which promote the cause of peace." Hamas, however, "is a terrorist organization,” (according to the Zionists controlling the State Department) said spokesman Tommy Vietor.

“To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” he said.

Hamas and Fat'h were on the verge of agreeing to the same deal in October 2009 but the Islamist movement backed out, protesting the terms had been revised without its consent.

Wednesday's deal was brokered in Cairo where the factions met with Egypt's new Intelligence chief Murad Muwafi, whose predecessor Omar Suleiman tried unsuccessfully to bridge a split that has left Gaza and the West Bank ruled by rival administrations.

The Hamas delegation included senior members from Gaza as well as its Damascus-based deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzouq.

On March 16, the president said he was ready to visit Gaza for talks with Hamas leaders to form a new government in order to pave the way for an agreement with Hamas on the formation of non-partisan cabinet lineup ahead of elections.

"I am ready to go to Gaza tomorrow to end the division and form a government of independent national figures to start preparing for presidential, legislative and National Council elections within six months," he said.

And earlier this month, Abbas told AFP that Iran had ordered Hamas not to reconcile with its long-time secular foe, prompting an angry response from the Islamist movement which said he was responsible for blocking a unity deal.

"Until now Hamas refuses to say 'yes' or 'no' to the initiative" -- to put an end to divisions, form a new government and prepare for elections, he said, adding: "Now the ball is in their court."

Cairo has long tried to broker a deal bring the two warring factions, and in October 2009 brokered a deal which would have led to a transitional government followed by elections. Fatah signed the deal, but Hamas stalled and the agreement was never implemented.

Tensions between the two movements date back to the start of limited Palestinian self-rule in the early-1990s when Fat'h strongmen cracked down on Islamist activists.

They worsened in January 2006, when in a surprise general election rout, Hamas beat the previously dominant Fat'h to grab more than half the seats in parliament.

Hamas expelled Fat'h from Gaza after a week of deadly clashes in June 2007, cleaving the occupied Palestinian territories into rival hostile camps.

Since then, Gaza has been effectively cut off from the West Bank, which is under the control of Fat'h, and repeated attempts at reconciliation have led nowhere.

The disunity of the Palestinians has prevented them from taking a common stance in peace talks with Israel, which are now off the table.

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