A meeting in Qatar today has ended with the top two Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, agreeing to form a unity government in anticipation of new elections. The deal would leave PA President Mahmoud Abbas in his position.
The deal provided no timetable, however, which has led some to speculate that it will be just another empty exercise in negotiation. The two camps had struck a previous “reconciliation pact” in May, which has yet to lead to much.
Further practicality inactivity on the part of the Palestinian groups would suit the Israeli government. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he has in the past, angrily condemned the agreement, saying Fatah could have peace with Israel or Hamas, but never both.
This has been Israel’s position for quite some time, but with the latest round of Israel-Fatah negotiation producing nothing resembling progress, the threat that Abbas won’t be able to look forward to his once yearly sit-down with Israeli negotiators to be reminded that Palestine will never be independent is unlikely to dissuade Fatah from moving forward on the deal.