September 12, 2006


Abbas Announces Deal With Hamas: Rival Palestinian Movements Agree to Work Together to Create Unity Government (Scott Wilson, 9/12/06, Washington Post)

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced Monday that the governing Hamas movement and his rival Fatah party have agreed on the principles of a power-sharing government and may soon form a new cabinet to lead the beleaguered Palestinian Authority.

Under the plan, Abbas, the authority's president, is to dissolve the current Hamas-led cabinet within 48 hours. Abbas would then nominate the current Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas officials said, to assemble a coalition cabinet that would include members of his party, Fatah, other factions, and so-called technocrats unaligned with the leading movements.

Details of the agreement mark the first time Hamas has tacitly endorsed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if not explicitly the Jewish state's right to exist.

Olmert looking to restart diplomacy (Herb Keinon, 9/11/06, THE JERUSALEM POST)
"What are the options," one official said. "There is the feeling now that Abbas really wants dialogue, and that he is trying to be active on the ground to push forward his point of view."

He said there was a feeling that the Palestinian street was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Hamas government, because it had not delivered on its pre-election promises.

This was supported by an assessment the cabinet heard from OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin. Yadlin said there were signs indicating that Hamas understood that it was not bringing the results it had hoped for.

He said Hamas had not dealt with the PA's economic challenges, had been unable to bring about an end to the anarchy in Gaza, had been unable to burst out of its international isolation and had not been able to carry out terrorist attacks, despite its best efforts. Signs of public discontent inside the PA were growing, the cabinet was told, with the recent strikes there the best example.

The deputy head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), whose name cannot be published, said Abbas would be going to Washington on September 14 and wanted to go there with some "achievement" to present the US administration. For this reason, he said, Abbas was pushing Hamas to show "flexibility."

But, he said, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was the one putting obstacles in the way. He said that if the discussions on a national unity government go nowhere, it was quite possible Abbas might dissolve the present government and form a new one so that he could go to Washington with an achievement in hand.

He said it was not in Israel's interest for Fatah to join a PA national unity government, since this would give Hamas - as a member of that government - a degree of legitimacy in the international community.

Elections were a trap and Hamas fell right in.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 12, 2006 8:39 AM
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