Palestinian reconciliation at stake after breaking another deadline
Published: Aug 26, 2009 09:38 AM Updated: May 25, 2011 12:57 PM

The comprehensive inter-Palestinian dialogue scheduled for Tuesday in Cairo was postponed until late September to be resumed after Lesser Bairam vacation, which is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, without an exact date.

As it is the third time for the host to postpone the moribund talks between Fatah and Hamas movements, experts feel pessimistic about a final deal among Palestinians in the near future, despite the possibility that something big might be brewed behind the scene.

Since February, Egypt has brokered six rounds of the dialogue between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo to iron out their rifts, but no tangible results has been achieved due to unilateral steps taken by the two movements against their opponents in the West Bank controlled by Fatah and Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas. The two movements trade accusations against each other of being behind the failure of the reconciliation efforts.

"The Palestinian factions don't have the will to reach reconciliation and to put an end to the rift between them," said Gamal Zahran, professor of political science at Cairo University.

Rift has emerged since Hamas routed pro-Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas forces and seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Egypt has made great efforts since then aimed at overcoming the increasingly feud as both sides consolidated their rule in the territories they control.

"All the Palestinian factions are consuming time with an aim to exhaust its rival," Zahran told Xinhua.

He added that up till now Hamas and Fatah have not yet reached a final agreement on forming a unity government, holding elections and reforming the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

"There are a lot of unsolved problems between the two major factions," said Gehad Ouda, professor of political science at Egypt's Helwan University.

He added that "they don't want even to reach reconciliation."

On the other hand, some experts think that the delay of the final round of reconciliation might be a sign of something big between the rivals in the near future.

Talaat Hamed, Vice President of the Arab Parliament, a pan-Arab institute affiliated with the Arab League, said that the aim of delaying the last round of talks is to give all the parties more time to review their stances.

Egypt, the chief mediator between the two factions, embarked on shuttle diplomatic tours in the Palestinian territories recently, in a bid to reach a breakthrough in this complicated issue.

"The Egyptian stance is neutral between all the factions, Egypt is doing its best to reach the reconciliation between them," said Zahran.

An Egyptian intelligence delegation met leaders of rival Hamas movement and Fatah party separately in the West Bank city of Ramallah last week to bridge gaps between the two rivals.

"The Palestinian factions have to realize that their cause is in danger if they refuse to reach a reconciliation," said Hamed.

Meanwhile, observers warned of undesirable aftermath of the endless delay of the dialogue, saying that the Palestinians would play into the hands of the Jewish state if they don't abandon hardline policies.

It is expected that US President Barack Obama would unveil soon an outline of its Mideast peace plan that would bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table after an almost 12-month hiatus.

"They should benefit from the Obama's stance that supports the Palestinian rights," Hamed said.

On June 4, Obama delivered a landmark speech in Cairo in an attempt to reach out to the Muslim world, saying "The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest."

Last week, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned that without an agreement between Hamas and Fatah, there would be no peace, asserting that Egypt exerts strenuous efforts to reach a "meeting point."

It is widely believed that Egypt's role in the inter-Palestinian talks is vital and there is no alternative to date, However, Ouda said, "there is no broker that can reach a deal between such rival factions."

blog comments powered by Disqus