There are unconfirmed reports that Hamas leaders are prepared to return control of the Gaza Strip to President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. A senior Hamas leader, Hussein Abu-Qawik, told a London newspaper that Khalad Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau has agreed it is necessary at this point in time for Hamas to surrender control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. President Abbas expressed outrage over the weekend when he learned that Saudi Arabia had given the red carpet treatment to Mashaal during his recent visit to their nation. Mashaal met with key Saudi Arabian leaders in a blatant disregard by Saudi Arabia to the Abbas government. The Saudis and Egyptians claim they are merely trying to keep connections open to both sides in the conflict in order to arrange a compromise which would result in a unified Palestinian government engaging in discussions with Israel.
If the Saudi and Egyptian decision to enter into discussions with Hamas is meant to lead toward reconciliation, it makes sense. However, if their talks enhance the prestige of Hamas it only adds trouble to an already confused situation. Palestinians must be united because only unified government can address key concerns of Israel. A resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict must entail an agreement on the part of all Arab factions that violence will cease and all parties will work toward peace. Anything less will only result in resumption of violence on the part of both Israel and Palestinians.