Monday, May 11, 2009

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Looking Distant

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

CAIRO, May 11 (IPS) - Doubts have arisen about a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation ahead of a new round of talks. The last talks between the two Palestinian factions failed to bridge outstanding differences......

Ultimately, though, the overriding difference between the two factions hinges on their respective approaches to Israel and the longstanding Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

Fatah insists that any new governing body adhere to conditions set by the "quartet" (the U.S., EU, Russia and the UN), which include recognition of Israel, compliance with past PLO agreements and the renunciation of armed resistance. What's more, Fatah is committed to negotiating with Israel in hope of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement - even though Abbas's previous "peace talks" with Israeli counterparts entirely failed to yield results.

Hamas, by contrast, adamantly refuses to recognise Israel, which it views as an illegitimate occupying power. On the eve of the talks, Damascus-based Hamas leader Mohamed Nasr said that conditioning Palestinian unity on the quartet's plans "effectively places a veto on reconciliation."

Tellingly, however, this critical issue - some would call it the central issue - was not broached at the most recent round of talks......"

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