Know More About Palestine
Sunday April 5, 2009 1:05 PM (EST+7)

The Palestinian factions Hamas and Fateh, at odds over political programs and leadership of the Palestinian cause, shared in a national unity government from March 17-June 14, 2007. The government was dissolved by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas after Hamas forces overran Gaza security positions during days of deadly infighting.

MECCA AGREEMENT

The Mecca summit, held Feb. 6-8 2007, culminated in an agreement between Hamas and Fateh to share in a unity government. The summit created a platform on the basis of “political partnership under the Palestinian National Authority and political pluralism.”

Hamas’ and Fateh’s acceptance of this agreement was largely attributed to the role of Saudi Arabia as the host and mediator of the talks.

RESUMED CONFLICT

By May 15, 2007, Hamaszzz*z al-Qassam Brigades and the presidential guard of Fateh had resumed interfactional fighting in Gaza.

A Conflict Forum report (see below) presents the chronology of events relating to Hamas-Fateh relations (from Dec. 2005 to July 2007) that led to the collapse of the national unity government. The failure to lift the economic blockade on Palestinians (especially in Gaza), Israeli secret assassination policies, US backing of Fateh’s Presidential Guard division, the resultant tensions between Fateh and Hamas and the continuation of arms smuggling are cited as reasons that collectively led to failure in coalition building.

CAIRO TALKS

Since the defacto creation of a Hamas-led authority in Gaza and a Fateh stronghold in the West Bank, Egypt has played a key role in trying to bridge the factional gap.

Talks begun in March 2009 have yet to bear fruit due to lack of consensus between Hamas and Fateh over sharing security control, as well as other outstanding issues. Egypt has since sought to get the two sides to agree to participating in a joint committee that would resolve ongoing disputes, culminating in new elections in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

FUTURE PROSPECTS

Were elections to be held with the participation of both Hamas and Fateh, a new unity government is possible. The International Crisis Group recommends in this case the creation of sub-committees committed to power-sharing  and advises Hamas and Fateh to resolve internal differences through dialogue.

The report also calls upon Israel to regularly transfer Palestinian revenues and taxes, and open up border crossings to facilitate trade and free movement within and between the occupied territories. The previous unity government faced an international funding boycott, led by Israel.

Finally, the report calls on the international community to seek to influence Hamas, rather than oust it from power.

By May 15, 2007, Hamaszzz*z al-Qassam Brigades and the presidential guard of Fateh had resumed interfactional fighting in Gaza.

A Conflict Forum report (see below) presents the chronology of events relating to Hamas-Fateh relations (from Dec. 2005 to July 2007) that led to the collapse of the national unity government. The failure to lift the economic blockade on Palestinians (especially in Gaza), Israeli secret assassination policies, US backing of Fateh’s Presidential Guard division, the resultant tensions between Fateh and Hamas and the continuation of arms smuggling are cited as reasons that collectively led to failure in coalition building.

CAIRO TALKS

Since the defacto creation of a Hamas-led authority in Gaza and a Fateh stronghold in the West Bank, Egypt has played a key role in trying to bridge the factional gap.

Talks begun in March 2009 have yet to bear fruit due to lack of consensus between Hamas and Fateh over sharing security control, as well as other outstanding issues. Egypt has since sought to get the two sides to agree to participating in a joint committee that would resolve ongoing disputes, culminating in new elections in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

FUTURE PROSPECTS

Were elections to be held with the participation of both Hamas and Fateh, a new unity government is possible. The International Crisis Group recommends in this case the creation of sub-committees committed to power-sharing  and advises Hamas and Fateh to resolve internal differences through dialogue.

The report also calls upon Israel to regularly transfer Palestinian revenues and taxes, and open up border crossings to facilitate trade and free movement within and between the occupied territories. The previous unity government faced an international funding boycott, led by Israel.

Finally, the report calls on the international community to seek to influence Hamas, rather than oust it from power.

By May 15, 2007, Hamaszzz*z al-Qassam Brigades and the presidential guard of Fateh had resumed interfactional fighting in Gaza.

A Conflict Forum report (see below) presents the chronology of events relating to Hamas-Fateh relations (from Dec. 2005 to July 2007) that led to the collapse of the national unity government. The failure to lift the economic blockade on Palestinians (especially in Gaza), Israeli secret assassination policies, US backing of Fateh’s Presidential Guard division, the resultant tensions between Fateh and Hamas and the continuation of arms smuggling are cited as reasons that collectively led to failure in coalition building.

CAIRO TALKS

Since the defacto creation of a Hamas-led authority in Gaza and a Fateh stronghold in the West Bank, Egypt has played a key role in trying to bridge the factional gap.

Talks begun in March 2009 have yet to bear fruit due to lack of consensus between Hamas and Fateh over sharing security control, as well as other outstanding issues. Egypt has since sought to get the two sides to agree to participating in a joint committee that would resolve ongoing disputes, culminating in new elections in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

FUTURE PROSPECTS

Were elections to be held with the participation of both Hamas and Fateh, a new unity government is possible. The International Crisis Group recommends in this case the creation of sub-committees committed to power-sharing  and advises Hamas and Fateh to resolve internal differences through dialogue.

The report also calls upon Israel to regularly transfer Palestinian revenues and taxes, and open up border crossings to facilitate trade and free movement within and between the occupied territories. The previous unity government faced an international funding boycott, led by Israel.

Finally, the report calls on the international community to seek to influence Hamas, rather than oust it from power.

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