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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid