News / Middle East

Palestinian Rivals Agree to Form Unity Government

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (L-R) talk before an agreement signing ceremony in Doha, Qatar, February 6, 2012.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (L-R) talk before an agreement signing ceremony in Doha, Qatar, February 6, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +

The leaders of the rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas announced they have agreed to form an interim unity government led by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas and Khaled Meshaal, head of the militant Islamist Hamas, said Monday the two groups would move forward without delay to form a government of independent technocrats, paving the way for presidential and parliamentary elections possibly later this year. No specific timetable was set.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who sponsored the talks, sat between the rival Palestinian leaders as they announced the deal in Doha.

Fatah and Hamas Relations Since 2007

  • June, 2007: After an election, Hamas takes control of Gaza. Fatah stays in control of the West Bank.
  • June, 2008: The two sides agree to talks, which are not held.
  • March, 2009: The two sides begin talks in Cairo.
  • November, 2010: Talks in Damascus fail to make more progress.
  • May, 2011: Fatah, Hamas sign a reconciliation deal.
  • February, 2012: Fatah, Hamas agree to form a unity government.

Fatah and Hamas had reached a reconciliation accord last year but were unable to agree on a candidate for prime minister. The current Palestinian premier, the Western-backed Salam Fayyad, would have to step down if a transitional government is formed. Fayyad said he welcomed the pact and is ready to implement it, as did Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' prime minister in Gaza.

Both sides said they are serious about carrying out the new agreement. Meshaal said it creates greater unity "in order to be free for facing the enemy," referring to Israel. Hamas is officially sworn to Israel's destruction, but says it is open to an indefinite cease-fire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday it would be impossible to hold peace talks if the Palestinians go through with the pact. He said if Abbas implements the power-sharing deal, he has chosen to "abandon the way of peace and to choose Hamas," adding, "you cannot have it both ways."

The United States, Europe and Israel all consider Hamas a terrorist organization. The West and Israel say they will not deal with a Palestinian entity that includes the Islamist group unless it recognizes Israel, renounces violence and accepts all previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

The more moderate, Abbas-led Palestinian Authority supports a negotiated peace with Israel that would give Palestinians an independent state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Gaza, co-existing alongside the Jewish state.

The deal, known as the "Doha Declaration," also calls for rebuilding Gaza, which has been largely cut off from the world as part of an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade, imposed after Hamas took over the Palestinian territory in 2007. The blockade was eased in the past year, but not enough to revive Gaza's economy.

Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestinian elections in 2006. It wrested control of Gaza from forces loyal to Abbas's Fatah movement after months of factional unrest, splitting the Palestinian territories into rival camps.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid