Hamas and Fatah have agreed to enter the seventh round of discussions in hope of resolving issues between the two groups. The continued division between the two Palestinian groups makes it virtually impossible for the Palestinian people to achieve a peace agreement with Israel. The Egyptian government has put together a reconciliation package which has gained a tentative agreement from Israel. Under the Egyptian proposal a new body would govern the Gaza Strip including representatives from Fatah and Hamas. President Abbas would have power over allocation of money since the West has made clear it would not funnel funds through Hamas. An election for president would take place in January, 2010 and both sides have agreed to accept the verdict of the Palestinian people.
Under the Egyptian plan, Arab and Egyptian experts would supervise security forces that will run the Gaza Strip and all sides agree to prevent attacks on Israel from Gaza. The plan also calls for prisoner exchange which would send home the Israeli soldier who presently is a prisoner, and crossings would be open to allow Gaza to proceed with reconstruction. European Union observers will assist in monitoring the Gaza border.
Israel would be foolish to oppose the Egyptian initiative and it must accept the possibility that a Hamas leader might be elected president. However, the peace process outlined in the Egyptian initiative offers a genuine opportunity for peace.