Egyptian intelligence chief discusses Palestinian reconciliation efforts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

Egyptian Intelligence Chief Mourad Mowafi on Wednesday met with Azzam al-Ahmed, member of Fatah’s Central Committee, to discuss Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Ahmed briefed Mowafi on the Doha Declaration in this regard, which was signed Monday by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshaal, chairman of Hamas’s political bureau, the state-run Middle East News Agency MENA reported. After the meeting, Ahmed said he briefed Mowafi because Egypt sponsors the reconciliation and is tasked by the Arab League to monitor its implementation.

Hamas-Fatah deal is realpolitik with real consequences
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Magid Shihade - (Opinion) February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

The agreement signed in Doha on Monday stipulates that President Mahmoud Abbas will lead an interim government, as well as keep his duties as head of the Palestinian Authority, in preparation for elections for the legislative council and for the presidency. Sponsored by Qatar's emir Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, the agreement was produced in large part because of regional and global developments. But it is better understood in terms of how these outside forces have affected internal changes in Palestinian politics.

Fatah Official: Abbas Can Head Government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas can appoint himself as head of the next government, a Fatah official said Wednesday, dismissing criticism that the move to bolster unity had no standing in Palestinian law. Azzam Ahmad said no law prevented Abbas from heading the government. "I advise those who reject this to read the laws again; we are a presidential system, not parliamentary." The Doha agreement signed Monday by Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal has been welcomed and criticized, with some saying the president had overstepped the parliament's authority.

Legal Controversy on Abbas’ Posts Grows After Doha Delaration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- A legal controversy over the posts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rose on Tuesday, one day after he agreed in Qatar with Islamic Hamas movement's chief Khaled Meshaal that Abbas will form and lead a unified transitional government. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that if Abbas as president of the Palestinian National Authority ( PNA) also becomes the prime minister of the Palestinian government, "there would be doubts on whether he will be able to run in the upcoming presidential elections or not."

Is Palestinian Handshake Much Ado About Nothing?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM // After Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a unity government and hold elections, you would think their rapprochement would be cause for optimism among Palestinians. But just ask Mohammed Youssef. He flatly dismissed Monday's accord as nothing more than a ruse between Fatah's chairman and the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and outgoing Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to quell public anger over the slow pace of their reconciliation.

EU: No Change in Palestinian Aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

BRUSSELS, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The European Union says the Palestinian Authority's new Fatah-Hamas unity government will not change the EU's ongoing financial assistance to Palestinians. Hamas is officially considered a terrorist group by the European Union but it gained some recognition for freeing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a recent prisoner swap with Israel, the EUobserver reported.

Who is Hamas? 5 Questions About the Palestinian Militant Group
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Arthur Bright - February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

1. What are the origins of Hamas? Hamas emerged as the Palestinian wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood after the outbreak of the first intifada in 1987 and is the largest Palestinian militant organization, as Kristen Chick wrote in a 2009 Monitor briefing. An Arabic word that means zeal or enthusiasm, "Hamas" is also an acronym for the group's official Arabic name, the Islamic Resistance Movement.

The New Palestinian Prime Minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
by Elliott Abrams - (Opinion) February 7, 2012 - 1:00am

Once upon a time, progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace was thought to require reform of Palestinian political institutions. Creation of the post of Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister, separate from that of PA president, was viewed as a milestone. On March 14, 2003, President Bush marked creation of the prime minister post in a press conference:

Doha agreement divides political opinion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 7, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Doha agreement signed on Monday by President Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal has been welcomed and criticized in equal measure by politicians and analysts. Hamas official Ismail al-Ashqar told Ma'an that the agreement "contradicted basic Palestinian law and overstepped the Palestinian Legislative Council." He urged President Abbas to take serious steps to implement the Cairo agreement as a whole, rather than being selective about which articles to implement.

Analysis: Will Qatar succeed where others failed?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - (Analysis) February 7, 2012 - 1:00am

First there was the Saudi-sponsored Mecca Agreement between Fatah and Hamas in February 2007. That agreement collapsed four months later when Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. Then came the Sanaa Agreement in March 2008 in Yemen. That agreement lasted only a few hours before it was pronounced dead by the two parties. The Yemeni agreement was followed by two similar reconciliation pacts that were reached under the auspices of the Egyptians. Needless to say, the Egyptian-brokered accords remained ink on paper.

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