News / Middle East

Why Hamas/Fatah Agreement At This Juncture?

Palestinian Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed (R) shakes hands with Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq after a joint press conference in Cairo on April 27, 2011 as rival Palestinian groups agreed to set up a transitional unity government and hold el
Palestinian Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed (R) shakes hands with Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq after a joint press conference in Cairo on April 27, 2011 as rival Palestinian groups agreed to set up a transitional unity government and hold el

President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House May 20. One of the topics expected to be discussed is the recent accord between Hamas and Fatah - two distinct Palestinian organizations.

Earlier this month, the secular Fatah movement and the militant Islamic group, Hamas, signed a reconciliation pact. The agreement was brokered by the Egyptians and signed in Cairo by the leader of Fatah and president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and Khaled Meshaal, leader of Hamas.

Among other things, the pact calls for an end to the state of war between them, the creation of an interim government and legislative and presidential elections within a year. Experts say the recent reconciliation pact is meant to heal the rift between two bitter enemies.

But many people are asking why such an agreement at this particular time?

Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics, says one reason is the change sweeping the Arab world.

“The pressure on the Palestinian leadership by the Palestinian public opinion has been felt. Palestinians now want their leadership - both Hamas and Fatah - to put their ideological inclinations aside and unify for the sake of the national interest, the Palestinian national interest,” Gerges said.

For his part, Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East expert at New York University, says Hamas has realized that because of the Arab uprising, Islamism has been waning.

“The Arab youth throughout the Middle East are not demanding Islam as a way of life. They are not demanding ‘Down with Israel’ or “Down with America’ or ‘Down with This.’ They are looking for freedom, for democracy, for economic development, for opportunities, for being able to live like a human being, for having dignity. I think this message of the Arab masses was not wasted on Hamas," Ben-Meir said.

Fawaz Gerges says another reason for the Hamas/Fatah pact is what he describes as the failure of the peace process, led by the United States, in moving toward a Palestinian state.

“By gambling on American diplomacy, President Mahmoud Abbas has been undermined - his credibility and authority in the eyes of the Palestinians. This particular pact, really, represents not only the failure of American diplomacy, but also the dismal failure of President Mahmoud Abbas to deliver peace to the Palestinians. And that’s why he had no choice but to focus on putting the Palestinian house in order and beginning the healing among the Palestinian factions and groups," Gerges said.

Alon Ben-Meir says the reconciliation pact must also be seen in the light of the upcoming September vote in the United Nations General Assembly on a Palestinian state.

“The Palestinians, going back now more than six months, eight months, began to rally country by country, one after the other. And they secured roughly 130 co-sponsors to recognizing a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem being the capital, and the right of return for the Palestinians. This is what we call the maximalist demand. Of course it is all subject to negotiation. But demanding that in the name of Hamas and Fatah is positive in the sense that now there is a whole Palestinian body politic making the same demand," Ben-Meir said.

Ben-Meir expects the resolution to pass. But he says it is non-binding and would represent only a symbolic act. "Once they have recognition, what the heck are they going to do with it if the United States and Israel in particular do not want to cooperate? What are they going to do with it? Resort back to violence? And then what?,” Ben-Meir said.

Ben-Meir, Gerges and others believe the new Hamas/Fatah reconciliation accord could signal a turning point in the search for a lasting peace in the Middle East - but only if violence is eradicated for good.

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

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid