Fatah and Hamas agree that Abbas will lead Palestinian unity cabinet
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Tuesday 07 February 2012
The leaders of Fatah and Hamas yesterday agreed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could head an interim "unity" cabinet to pave the way for fresh future elections in Gaza and the West Bank.
The accord signed by Mr Abbas and Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshal in Qatar cleared one important obstacle standing in the way of the two factions working together and ending more than four years of enmity.
By providing for Mahmoud Abbas to take on the premiership of a jointly agreed "technocratic" cabinet, the deal will be seen as a an effort to produce a leadership acceptable to at least some foreign governments, while acceding to Hamas demands that the internationally respected Salam Fayyad stand down as Prime Minister.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, swiftly reacted by saying it would be impossible to reach a peace deal with an Authority that included Hamas, adding, "it is either peace with Hamas or peace with Israel. You can't have them both."
Mr Fayyad, who has long said he would not be the reason for a breakdown in negotiations between the two factions, yesterday welcomed the agreement as "a response to the aspirations of our people to restore unity to the homeland and its institutions." But Mr Fayyad, who is not a member of either Fatah or Hamas, did not immediately say whether he would be part of the new cabinet, assuming it takes office.
Progress had hitherto been slow in negotiations to heal the schism which peaked when Hamas, which won the last parliamentary elections in 2006, seized control of Gaza by force in 2007, after the brief civil war which ended a short lived coalition between the two factions.
Mr Abbas has been depicted as warming to the idea of reconciliation with Hamas because of deep scepticism that current, badly faltering negotiations with Israel would lead to an agreement. But Palestinian analysts differed over how far the latest Hamas-Fatah deal would prove a defining breakthrough on the path to reconciliation.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...
£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are looking for Founda...