News / Middle East

Some Palestinians Skeptical About New Reconciliation Agreement

Palestinian Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed (R) shakes hands with Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq after a joint press conference in Cairo, Egypt, April 27, 2011
Palestinian Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed (R) shakes hands with Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq after a joint press conference in Cairo, Egypt, April 27, 2011

Israel has rejected a reconciliation agreement between the two major Palestinian factions, saying it could kill the peace process. Some Palestinians are also expressing skepticism about whether the moderate Fatah faction that runs the West Bank can ever join with the militant Hamas group that rules Gaza.

Musab Sirhan, a 20-year-old university student, stands next to a tent in central Ramallah's Menara Square.  The tent is now empty. Sirhan is among the demonstrators who have ended a sit-in they started last month to call for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

Unity among the Palestinian factions, he believes, will be the most effective tool in achieving Palestinian statehood. Sirhan says he and his fellow demonstrators have succeeded. He says that once they are united, the Palestinians can get get rid of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and end the occupation.

Down the street at the Palestine Coffee Shop, among the older men who gather here to sip coffee and smoke, there is less optimism.

Jemal Ismail does not see how two factions that are so different in their views can truly reconcile unless they give up some essential part of their beliefs.  He sees no evidence of that.  He asks, what is their plan? He wonders what is new in this agreement.  He says he has seen these reconciliation deals before and he says they have always failed.

Hamas drove Fatah out of the Gaza Strip four years ago after a week of bloody clashes.

Fatah is open to negotiations with Israel, while Hamas opposes peace talks and its charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Israel calls the reconciliation agreement a mistake, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Palestinian Authority to choose between peace with Hamas, or peace with Israel.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking on Israeli army radio, warned that Hamas militants might flood the West Bank.

He said such an agreement crosses a "red line," and noted that Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by members of the international community.

Supporters of Hamas in the West Bank welcomed the agreement. Fadel Hamdan, an Islamist Palestinian legislator, considers it a historic moment that he says was made possible by the new interim government of Egypt.

He said Hamas wanted reconciliation, but was not allowed to do so by the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. He said that once Mubarak was gone, the process started working and he hopes that Fatah will align itself with the goals of Hamas.

The agreement, to be signed next week in Cairo, comes as public pressure grows on Fatah leaders to move the stalled peace process forward and end Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

Analysts say Hamas is dealing with similar pressure in Gaza, where demonstrations have been held as frustration grows over the group's failure to bring an end to Israel's blockade of the enclave.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid