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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid