Abbas and Mashaal: Commitment hailed a new era of ‘partnership’

Israel/Palestine
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Khaled Meshal, left, the leader of Hamas, and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, who leads the Fatah movement, met Thursday in Cairo to discuss a unity government.(Credit: Reuters)

While many of us were celebrating Thanksgiving yesterday Abbas and Mashaal met in Cairo, the first public follow up since their reconciliation in order to form a unity government.

Jerusalem Post:

“There are no differences between us at all, and we agreed to work as partners and share responsibilities,” Abbas told reporters after the meeting. “We share the same responsibility toward our people and cause.”

Ma’an News

Exiled Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal said Friday that Israeli threats after reconciliation talks with Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas “would not scare us but rather assure us that reconciliation is the right track for the Palestinian people.”

……….

The reconciliation deal, which set out a path to a unity government of technocrats and elections within a year, had stalled over continuing disagreement, in particular over the candidate to head the new cabinet. Abbas supported the current premier in Ramallah Salam Fayyad, who was rejected by Hamas.

On Friday, Mashaal said it was still too early to discuss Hamas’ nomination of a prime minister, after the meeting with Abbas that both insisted ended remaining disagreements between them.

……

Abbas and Mashaal on Thursday approved a two-page document reiterating their commitment to the main elements of the original deal, and hailed a new era of “partnership.”

Meanwhile it’s mostly gloom and doom over @ NYT

“Rival Palestinian Leaders Meet but Fail to End Rift”

 Isabel Kershner and Fares Akram framed the disagreements, via anonymous officials, as  “rosy” public statements hiding a “deadlocked” albeit admitting the leaders didn’t address the “deadlock” over who would lead the interim government.

Neither of the leaders directly addressed the deadlock over the appointment of a unity government……….

[D]ifferences between the sides clearly prevailed, and since the signing of the accord disincentives for further cooperation have mounted……….

Sounds like neither side discussed candidates at this round of talks.

 Israel and the West say they will not deal with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless the Islamic group recognizes Israel, renounces violence and accepts all previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Hamas has shown no sign of agreeing to those conditions, and the prospect of a unity government threatens the Palestinian Authority’s relations with Israel, Europe and the United States.

….

Mr. Barhoum said that the two sides agreed to some confidence-building measures, like stopping politically motivated arrests, and that they had also reached understandings on a political program defining relations between Israel and the Palestinians and the shape of a future Palestinian state. He did not elaborate on the content of those understandings.

Reached understandings on a political program defining relations between Israel and the Palestinians and the shape of a future Palestinian state ? Really. That sounds promising. This is probably driving Netanyahu nuts. No wonder it sounds like someone’s got their knickers in a twist. Back to Jerusalem Post:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said following the meeting that “the closer Abbas gets to Hamas, the further away he gets from peace.”

To the extent that Abbas moves away from Hamas and to direct negotiations with Israel, he said, “peace will be advanced, and this will serve the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

…..

Regarding the $100 million of Palestinian tax revenue that Israel has refused to release to the PA since the Palestinians were accepted as a member of UNESCO earlier this month, the officials said that no decision had been taken to free the money.

Over the past week, Israel has come under intense diplomatic pressure from around the world to release the funds. “One thing is clear,” the officials said. “Had Abbas signed a unity government agreement with Hamas, there would be no chance whatsoever that the money would continue to flow.”

I hear deadlock, but today, it’s not between Fatah and Hamas.

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