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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs