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Hamas, Fatah to sign unity deal in Cairo

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Palestinian Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed (R), Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq (L).

The Palestinian movements of Hamas and Fatah will sign a deal to form a unity government next week in the Egyptian capital Cairo, a senior Fatah official says.

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal will meet Fatah leader and acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo to sign the deal, AFP reported on Friday.

“The signing of the agreement will be on May 4, when Abbas and Meshaal and all the Palestinian factions will meet at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo,” said Azzam al-Ahmed, who headed the Fatah delegation in talks between the two sides.

The movements, which have been at odds since Hamas came to power in 2006, reached an initial agreement on all controversial issues including the elections and the formation of the interim unity government.

They have also agreed to hold the elections within one year.

The agreement, however, has sparked an outrage among Israeli officials, who threatened the Palestinian Authority with retaliatory measures if the deal is signed.

Hamas official from Gaza Mahmud Zahar said although the movement was committed to its strategy of “no recognition and no negotiations” with Israel, it would not insist that Fatah stop negotiating with Tel Aviv.

“If Fatah wants to bear the responsibility for negotiating on nonsense, let it. If it manages to get a state, good for them,” Zahar said. “We didn’t view what was happening as a peace process, so we didn’t take part in it,” he said.

Israel’s refusal to halt settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories has brought to halt negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians have demanded Israel freeze settlement construction, arguing that the continuation of settlement units reduces the chance of establishing an independent Palestinian state.

Israel seized East al-Quds (Jerusalem), along with the West Bank, in the Six Day War of 1967, and later annexed it in defiance of calls from the international community.


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