Gulf News (Editorial)
October 1, 2009 - 11:00pm
http://www.gulfnews.com/opinion/editorial_opinion/region/10353909.html


Finally, a bit of good news from the Occupied Territories. The Hamas and Fatah movements, which have, absurdly, been fighting for control of Gaza and the West Bank, seem to have agreed in principle on a reconciliation deal that could lead to a Palestinian unity government.

That would surely allow the Palestinians to present a more unified position in peace talks with Israel. As much as everybody would like to be optimistic about the deal brokered as a result of the tireless efforts of the Egyptian government, we must be cautious and ensure that it does not lead to further tension and division. A similar deal, signed in Makkah two years ago and sponsored by the Saudi government, collapsed just a few weeks later, leading to the worst crisis in inter-Palestinian politics.

The Palestinians are currently at a crossroads. The next few months could be critical to the entire Middle East conflict, at the heart of which is the Palestinian question. While the Arabs, along with the United States and other Western powers, are trying to revive the peace process, Israel appears intent on undermining all efforts and any hope left for a just and peaceful settlement by continuing to confiscate more land and expanding Jewish colonies in the West Bank. It also continues to besiege and attack the Palestinians in Gaza.

Therefore, the Palestinians cannot afford to remain divided and must start on the groundwork to form a unity government that will hopefully end the bitter tension and absurd rivalry.

Cairo is expected to lay down a final draft for the reconciliation deal in the next few days. This deal should be fair, transparent and, most importantly, implementable. But it is up to the Palestinians to honour the expected agreement. The future of the hoped for independent state might very well depend on it.




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