April 4, 2011
Palestinian Unity Announced in Cairo
Published today (updated) 04/05/2011 16:38
CAIRO (Ma'an) --
In a recorded broadcast which aired one hour after a unity
announcement was made in Cairo, leaders of Fat'h and Hamas both welcomed
a Palestinian reconciliation they said would pave the way toward
An initial delay in the presentation was said to be
on account of Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mesha'al's insistence on
delivering a speech, and expressing anger over being seated in the
audience of the event, rather than on the central plinth where Fat'h
leader Mahmoud Abbas sat next to Egyptian officials.
to being Fat'h's chairman, Abbas is also Palestinian president and
leader of the PLO. His title as leader of the Palestinian people was
given as a justification for his being the only address, sources said.
Both men ultimately presented addresses to the audience, made up
of the leaders of 14 Palestinian political factions as well as
Palestinian religious officials.
"We fold forever the dark page
of division," Abbas began his address, words echoed by
moments later in his own speech.
He said a government of
"independent figures" would "soon see the light."
reaffirmed that the new government would renounce violence, but
underscored his continued support for popular resistance activities
against Israel's continued military and settler presence in the West
"The people are leading a struggle that is recognized by
the world ... the people struggle against occupation, settler
oppression, [and the] ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem," he said, labeling
Israel's occupation of Palestinian areas as "state terrorism."
Mesha'al, whose address was brief, praised the efforts of Egypt,
and said he supported "elections at first possible moment," but said
that in order for the vote to be genuine, "first we must establish a
real and normal atmosphere on the ground."
Abbas elaborated on
his vision for the establishment of a unified Palestinian people, saying
"there will be one authority, one gun; [but we will be an] authority
committed to non-violence."
The ceremony was closed to the
media, Abbas said, because of its location in the Egyptian intelligence
headquarters, with tapes of the event later released to satellite
Abbas gave extensive comment
on recent threats by Israeli officials to lobby against the unity
government, as well as the Israeli government decision to withhold tax
revenues from the Palestinian Authority.
"If they keep
blackmailing us, we'll make September nearer," he said, referring to the
PA's stated intention to head to the UN in September asking that the
international body recognize a Palestinian state in the pre-1967
borders, on land recognized as the West Bank -- including Jerusalem --
and the Gaza Strip.
"Israel used division as pretext to stall a
peace deal. Now they object to unity. That's unacceptable, its
illegitimate," he said.
The Palestinian president said the
Israeli premier must now "choose between (building) settlements and
peace," and accused Israel of opposing the Palestinian reconciliation
accord as "a pretext to avoid peace negotiations."
criticized Israeli ministers demanding an end to the unity deal, saying
it was Israel that had to do serious thinking over who they would talk
to. "Hamas is part of the people," Abbas said, saying that if he could
talk to Israel in the interests of the Palestinian people, he would also
speak with Hamas, all in the view to realizing Palestinian statehood.
"The occupation shall end, a Palestinian state shall be born
this year," he said.
Commenting on reports that Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present a peace settlement to American
officials during his visit to Washington in May, Abbas said Palestinians
would refuse a deal with "temporary borders," and added that "we won't
accept the existence of any Israeli soldier on Palestinian lands … if
there's an independent state, Israel shall not exist in it."
also said that Palestinians will not "drop the right of return," noting
that he himself was a refugee.
As an alternative to any
settlement Netanyahu might propose, Abbas said Palestinians were
"committed to Arab peace initiative, to international legitimacy. Our
national rights are inalienable."
Palestinians gathered in both the
West Bank and Gaza Strip to celebrate the long-awaited agreement to put
an end to rival administrations in the West Bank and Gaza, and restore
the unity shattered by deadly fighting in June 2007.
reconciliation agreement provides for the formation of an interim
government of independents to lay the groundwork for presidential and
parliamentary elections within a year.
Negotiations on the new
government line-up were due to start straight after Wednesday's
ceremony, with reports saying Abbas and
were due to meet as soon as the unity announcement was made.
surprise deal, which was announced last week, comes after 18 months of
In Gaza City, around 300 people waving
Palestinian flags gathered in a festive atmosphere to celebrate the
deal, dancing and letting off firecrackers.
"Palestinians want to
end the division," said one banner held aloft by the crowd.
participants waved the green flag of Hamas, and a few also raised the
yellow flag of the Fatah movement, which has been banned in Gaza ever
since the Islamist movement ousted Abbas loyalists from the territory
four years ago.
"This is the day that we've all been waiting
for," an announcer shouted to the cheering crowd.
were also planned in the West Bank town of Ramallah, where Abbas has his
AFP contributed to this report
Palestinian Source: “Hamas And Fat'h Agree Fayyad Won’t Be
Heading New Interim Government”
Wednesday May 04, 2011 10:27 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
A senior Palestinian source reported that the Hamas and Fat'h
movements agreed that the current Prime Minister in the West Bank, Dr.
Salaam Fayyad, will not be heading the new interim unity government that
would be formed after the unity deal is officially signed.
Speaking on condition of a anonymity, the source told the United
International press agency that both Hamas and Fat'h movements agreed on
removing Fayyad, and added that this decision does not mean totally
removing him from the government as some officials are calling for
appointing him as a Minister of Finance for his ability to obtain
international and financial support due to his good relations with donor
The new head of the interim government will likely be
from the Gaza Strip.
The government will not carry a political
agenda, and will have certain tasks headed by ensuring a positive
atmosphere for a lasting reconciliation, preparing for the new general
and presidential elections, and to supervise the reconstruction of Gaza.
Other tasks of the government include resolving the social and
administrative effects of the internal rifts and conflict, and to reform
all Palestinian institutions, including the Palestinian Liberation
All political prisoners held by Fat'h in the
West Bank and by Hamas in Gaza will be released following the official
ceremony of signing the deal, while the Legislative Council will be
resuming its duties in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
security forces will be controlled and run by the unity government.
The general, presidential and National Council elections will be
consecutively held one year after the deal is signed.
elections will be held under Arab and International supervision, and an
elections court headed by a judge, and eight supervising judges, will be
formed to ensure fair and transparent elections.
Egypt’s FM Meets Hamas Leaders, Cairo Prepares For Official
Ceremony Of Signing Unity Deal
Wednesday May 04, 2011 04:05 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Nabil Al-Arabi, met on Tuesday evening with
the visiting Hamas delegation headed by Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief,
Mesha'al, and held talks on the latest developments in the Arab
World and the Palestinian Unity Agreement.
Palestinian Information Center reported that
and his accompanying delegation also held a series of meetings with
Egyptian officials to discuss the latest developments.
Wednesday, Palestinian factions signed the Egyptian-mediated unity
of Hamas, Samir Al-Rifaey of Fat'h, Ramadan Shalah of the Islamic Jihad,
Ahmad Jibril of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine –
General Command, and Maher Al-Taher of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine, were among the political leaders who
participated in the ceremony.
A senior Egyptian official stated
Tuesday that an official ceremony will be held on Wednesday, and added
that Cairo sent official invitations to Arab Foreign Ministers, and
ministers from Russia, China, Turkey and a number of European countries.
Egypt also invited UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Arab League
Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, Organization of the Islamic Conference
Secretary-General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and EU High Representative for
Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton.
Cairo wants to make sure a
positive atmosphere prevails during the ceremony, while Egyptian and
Palestinian officials were concluding final touches to the preparations
in order to ensure a lasting deal that will put an end to years of
internal and bloody conflict between Fat'h and Hamas movements in the
Following the official ceremony on
Wednesday, Palestinian factions will start consultations to form the new
interim government that would operate until new general and presidential
elections are held.
Also, an Arab Committee headed by Egypt will
be heading to the Palestinian territories to ensure the implementation
of the deal, and to ensure that obstacles are removed, especially
obstacles in issues related to security arrangements, and the
integration of government facilities in Gaza and the West Bank.
Israel and the United States opposed the deal and threatened to boycott
the new Palestinian government as it includes the Hamas movement, dubbed
as a terrorist group by the two countries.
Mesha'al Meets Egypt’s Security Chief
Tuesday May 03, 2011 02:32 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Head of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement, Khaled
Mesha'al, met on Monday with Egypt’s Security Chief, Murad Muwafi,
and a number of Egyptian security leaders.
Izzat Al-Rishiq of
Hamas’ Political Bureau told the Hamas affiliated Palestinian
Information Center that
and Muwafi held talks on the situation in Palestine, the region, and the
Palestinian unity deal that will be signed this Wednesday in Cairo.
Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouq and Mohammad Nassr, both political leaders of
Hamas, also attended the meetings.
Hamas delegates from Gaza and
in exile arrived in Cairo on Sunday evening to hold meetings with
Egyptian officials, and to attend the official ceremony of signing the
Palestinian unity deal that was mediated by Egypt.
leaders, headed by president Mahmoud Abbas, will be attending the
official ceremony. The deal will official be signed by Abbas and
Mesha'al, marking an end to years of internal divisions.
Israel and the United States are threatening to boycott the Palestinian
Authority, and indicated they would halt all sorts of cooperation with
Several U.S senators, mainly republicans, called for
stopping U.S. and international aid to the Palestinian Authority of
Mahmoud Abbas for signing a deal with the Hamas movement, dubbed as a
Netanyahu on European tour to incite against unity between
Hamas and Fat'h
[ 04/05/2011 - 12:45 PM ]
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)--
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday a number of
top British officials in London as part of a European tour aimed at
mobilizing opposition to the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fat'h
A senior Israeli official said Netanyahu would discuss with European
officials the issue of unity between Hamas and Fatah and warn them
against the political partnership that Mahmoud Abbas intends to
establish with Hamas Movement.
The Israeli premier had asked Abbas a few days ago to backtrack on
his intention to reconcile with Hamas and to return to Israel's peace
talks, on the ground that such an agreement constitutes a serious blow
to the peace process.