Hamas of Contradictions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

The growing split that has been emerging within the leadership of Hamas has exploded into a bitter public feud. It was prompted an agreement reached last week in Qatar between the head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. According to the deal, Abbas would take on the additional role of prime minister until elections are held later this year.

Putting Doha in Context
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Hani al-Masri - (Opinion) February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

The signing of last May's reconciliation agreement would likely not have been possible without the shifting of various Arab, regional and international factors that were hampering reconciliation. The fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was committed to Israeli and United States conditions on Palestinian reconciliation for fear of strengthening Hamas' ally, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (the main threat to his rule), as well as the active opposition in Syria have positively influenced efforts to end Palestinian division and restore unity.

Hamas Chiefs Wrestle with Split on Palestinian Pact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The two top leaders of the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas failed at secret talks in Qatar on Sunday to resolve an internal crisis over a reconciliation pact with the rival Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, a diplomat in the region said. The first open leadership split in the 25-year history of Hamas -- the militant, Iranian-funded organisation which opposes a peace treaty with Israel -- arose over how far it should go in closing ranks with Fatah, the Palestinian mainstream group.

Palestinian unity deal a mistake: Gaza Hamas leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 12, 2012 - 1:00am

CAIRO — Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahar slammed a Palestinian unity deal as a "mistake" that has thrown the Islamist movement into crisis, in an interview with Egypt's official MENA agency published on Sunday. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal signed an agreement with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas earlier this month placing Abbas at the head of an interim government charged with organising elections later this year. The decision to have Abbas head the government "is a mistake," Zahar told MENA. "No one inside the Hamas movement was consulted."

Abbas will have to choose
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yigal B. Caspi - (Opinion) February 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Hamas and Fatah, the ruling faction in the Palestinian Authority, signed an agreement in Doha, Qatar on 6 February 2012 to form an interim unity government. According to the agreement, PA President and leader of Fatah Mahmoud Abbas will head the government, replacing the current Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, who is supported by the West. The move is a further step in implementing the so-called reconciliation agreement that the two Palestinian factions signed in Cairo in May 2011.

Palestinian Unity May Turn to Reality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) February 9, 2012 - 1:00am

To understand the new unity agreement between the two Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, it helps to recall the story of the village beggar and his cake. It happened once that the village beggar asked the rabbi for a ruble to buy some food. An hour later the rabbi saw the beggar in the market, eating a slice of cake. Incensed, the rabbi rushed to rebuke him: “When I give you a ruble you should eat a meal, not cake!” “Excuse me,” the beggar replied. “Yesterday I had no money, so I couldn’t eat cake. Today I have money, but I shouldn’t eat cake. Tell me, rabbi, when can I eat cake?”

Hamas split threatens Palestinian unity deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Hamas's Gaza-based leadership challenged on Wednesday a Palestinian reconciliation deal signed by the Islamist group's political chief in exile and President Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah movement. Bringing divisions within Hamas to the surface, the group's "Change and Reform" Gaza parliamentary bloc came out against a key clause in the pact under which Abbas would serve both as president and prime minister of a future Palestinian government.

Middle East press uncertain on Palestinian unity deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
February 7, 2012 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will head the cabinet of politically independent technocrats while it organises elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Hamas has governed since 2007. Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Mr Abbas would be abandoning the way of peace if he implemented the deal with Hamas. Israel considers Hamas to be a terrorist group. Pro-Fatah newspaper Al-Quds

Who’s Pulling the Strings in the Middle East? Little Qatar, says Syria
Media Mention of Hussein Ibish In The New York Times - February 7, 2012 - 1:00am

LONDON — The Syrian regime is in no doubt about who sits at the center of a web of international conspiracy seeking to undermine it: the rulers of the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Like the regime of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and that of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya before it, Syria has singled out Qatar as an éminence grise behind the unrest in its streets. In a dispatch on Tuesday, the Syrian State news agency SANA claimed to have discovered a document showing Qatar was funding writers in Russia to fabricate news about Syria.

Abbas to head unity government as factions sign agreement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 6, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- President Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal penned an agreement in Qatar on Monday which will see the Fatah leader head a unity government. The agreement stipulates that the current President will head an interim government to prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections. It also included agreements on reforming the Palestinian National Council and activating the PLO for the next elections, Palestine TV said.

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