US criticism of Palestinian reconciliation pact shadows Middle East peace talks

15:28, May 26, 2011      

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by Osama Radi, Omer Othmani

The Egyptian-drafted inter- reconciliation agreement, which was signed in Cairo on May 4 between Fatah and the Islamic Hamas movement, is facing difficulties following U.S. President Barack Obama's criticism of the agreement.

Obama, who demanded Hamas to accept the requirements of the International Quartet Committee for peace in the Middle East, said in a speech on Monday that the deal between Abbas and Hamas "is a big obstacle for achieving peace."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his speech before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, also called on Abbas to halt the reconciliation agreement if he really wants to reach a permanent peace agreement with Israel.

According to the agreement sponsored by Egypt, the two sides agreed to end around four years of division between Gaza and the West Bank, and form a national unity government to pave way for general elections within one year.


Abbas had stressed that the reconciliation agreement is to immediately implement by forming a technocratic government. He defended the agreement by saying that "Hamas is part of the Palestinian society and part of the opposition on democratic basis. "

Mohamed Ishteya, a Palestinian negotiator told Xinhua that the highest Palestinian interest "is an internal Palestinian affair and it is a red line to defend our national rights, which can never be crossed over."

On the criticism of the reconciliation, he said "We oppose of imposing terms or veto on our internal decision."


The Hamas movement, which is listed by the U.S. among the world 's terrorist organizations, had repeatedly declared that it will never recognize the state of Israel. The fact would make it difficult for the world to accept the reconciliation agreement.

Musa Abu Marzooq, a senior Hamas leader, was quoted by foreign media as saying that recognizing Israel meant that Hamas movement "accepted its occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights as well as legitimizing the occupation and the annexations of the Arab territories."

Meanwhile, Salah al-Bardaweel, a Gaza-based Hamas leader slammed U.S. President Obama's speech on reconciliation, adding " the statement is a clear intervention into the internal Palestinian affairs, and he (Obama) is seeking to keep the Palestinian split and to satisfy Israel."

Khalil Shahin, a political analyst based in the West Bank told Xinhua that whether the reconciliation agreement will be accepted by the west depends on a unified political program of the upcoming Palestinian national unity government between Fatah and Hamas."

"The two sides, Fatah and Hamas has to agree immediately on a joint political program for the new government which could also be accepted by the U.S. and European countries, otherwise, the reconciliation agreement might collapse," said Shahin, adding "the Palestinians have no choice but being united."

Source: Xinhua
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