Hamas and Fatah to share government powers

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
Hamas and Fatah have agreed to create a National Unity Government which will adopt the principles of the “Prisoners Document” and could jumpstart the talks with Israel. The move could also lift international sanctions imposed by the international community and help the Palestinians rebuild themselves economically.

The two major factions in the Palestinian Authority plan to dissolve the current Hamas-only government within 48 hours, and create a government composed of both Hamas and Fatah ministers. The Prime Minister’s job will most likely remain in the hands of Ismail Hanyia of Hamas, and Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah would still hold the position of PA Chairman.

The agreement to create such a unity government was based the “Prisoners Document” drafted by prominent prisoners of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad being held in Israel. This document implies recognition of Israel by Hamas, calling for a two-state solution, as well as adopting a pan-Arab peace initiative with Israel, and allowing Abbas to deal with Israel.

Reactions in Israel have so far been of cautious optimism. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said in reaction that Abbas could form any government he likes, but that Hamas is still a terrorist organization and in order for it to have legitimacy, it must accept the conditions of the Quartet including recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

In a joint press conference with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos who visited Israel yesterday, Livni said that if the new Palestinian Unity Government does not accept the conditions stipulated by the international community, there will not be any progress.

Livni added that “Abbas has two options: one is to take the route of accepting the international conditions which could lead to progress, and the other route is to go with those who do not accept the conditions and could lead to another dead end.”

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