Tag Archives: Egyptian mediation

Hamas Indicates Ready To Accept Egyptian Proposal

High level Hamas officials indicated they were prepared to give serious consideration to an Egyptian proposal which seeks to end the division among Palestinians leaders. The Hamas delegation represented individuals from Syria and Gaza as well as other regions, and they discussed issues with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Khalil al-Haya, a Gaza based member, said, “We in Hamas accept that elections are on the table for discussion. Fatah, which is headed by President Abbas, has been pushing for simultaneous elections on the West Bank as well as in Gaza. The Hamas representatives also agreed it was time for both their organization and Fatah to finally sit down and resolve their differences.

At the heart of any Hamas-Fatah agreement is the need for Hamas to agree that Israel is a viable nation and it is time to accept that reality. A united Palestinian government would be a powerful group to negotiate an agreement with Israel because even moderate Israelis will not trust Hamas until it publicly abandons it view that Israel must be destroyed.

Fatah Agrees To Compromise With Hamas

A senior negotiator for the Palestine Authority indicated that Fatah was no longer insisting its rival Hamas must abandon control over Gaza as a price for reconciliation. Nabil Shaath, head of a Fatah delegation in Cairo for talks with Egyptian mediators said President Abbas was taking a more flexible position on the issue of who controls Gaza. “We are not asking for this(the reversal of the Hamas coup in Gaza). We are not asking anybody to apologize. We are not asking to go back to where we were. We want to go forward, not backward.”

Perhaps, President Abbas is moving toward agreeing with the Egyptian proposal for a ‘national consensus” government as the best way to engage with Israel discussions. The Egyptian proposal would integrate all armed forces into one body. However, there has yet to be confirmation from the Abbas headquarters that he agrees with such proposals for reconciliation.

Islamic Jihad-Cease Fire Possible

The Islamic Jihad expressed a willingness to accept an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire in the Gaza Strip on the condition there would be “removal of the siege on the Palestinian people and the opening of the crossings” on the Gaza border. Ziad al-Nahia said he would accept the deal because it would benefit the Palestinian population. The Islmic Jihad and other militant groups are agreeing initially to focus on a cease fire in the Gaza Strip but hope eventually the end of fighting would also extend to other areas such as the West Bank. The Egyptian news agency, MENA, said “all of the Palestinian factions have agreed to the Egyptian proposal on a truce with Israel.”

The Israel government has already indicated several objections to the truce proposal because it believes such a cease fire might allow militant factions to resupply and obtain additional weapons. The central issue is whether the Palestinians are prepared for a short or long term period of truce. It obviously makes sense to seek the longer term truce and accept the reality of breaches. But, unless one begins the process, the process will never achieve a fruition of purpose. The road to peace begins with a single step.