Here’s another kickass video of the signing at BBC
The deal was signed in Doha, Qatar, by Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who said last month he plans to step down from his post.
“The Palestinian reconciliation is no longer a Palestinian interest but also an Arab interest,” Abbas said.
“Both parties are serious in moving forward to fold the page of strife between both parties and to strengthen the Palestinian national unity government,” according to Meshaal.
We knew this was coming. Abbas waited till after the Jan 26 Quartet deadline, and then said he was consulting with Arab leaders Feb 4. Palestinians are likely moving forward with their UN bid. Netanyahu is using this as an excuse to say that the unity deal will halt Israeli/Palestinian options, but there were never any options coming from Israel.
His move was welcomed cautiously by a broad range of Palestinians who are fed up with the brutal split at the heart of their national movement. It promised to upend Israeli-Palestinian relations, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning Mr. Abbas that he could have peace with Israel or unity with Hamas, but not both.
Ira Glunts points readers to the caption on the New York Times photograph of eight Palestinian men playing cards in Ramallah as news of the deal showed on a television overhead:
News of a Palestinian unity deal played for otherwise occupied viewers in Ramallah, West Bank.
You do not see the words “occupation” or “occupied” in the New York Times a whole lot, especially accompanying an article by its pro-Israel Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner. Maybe some clever AP caption writer succeeded in sneaking this double entendre by the Times editors. My guess is that it was written unwittingly and overlooked by those responsible for putting the paper together. (The word occupied does not appear anywhere else in the article. Nor does occupation.)