BEIJING,May 5 (Xinhuanet) — Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have proclaimed a landmark, reconciliation pact, aimed at ending their bitter four-year rift. A signing ceremony to formally endorse the deal has been held in Cairo, where the pact was mediated by Egypt. The move means a Palestinian unity government will finally be formed, marking a new beginning for peace in the Middle East.
The signing of unity and even peace…
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, says the deal means Palestinians have turned forever the “black page” of division. He also said at the ceremony that he would soon visit the Hamas-held Gaza Strip.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said that his resistance movement was “ready to pay any price” for reconciliation among Palestinians. He added that his group wants the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state on land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Egyptian-brokered deal calls for forming an interim government to run the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections within a year. The deal also agrees to form a “supreme security council” as a step towards reform of separate security forces operated by the rival administrations.
Palestinians see this reconciliation as crucial for their drive to establish an independent state in the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war.
President Abbas may also seek the recognition of the Palestinians as an independent country at September’s UN assembly.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced the deal and stopped transferring Palestinian tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority. He says Fatah must choose between Israel and the Hamas group.