Palestine Hesitates to Join Egypt at Negotiating Table

A 25-page resolution from the Egyptian government outlines a new approach to settle disputes in Gaza.

The deployment of a new security force is in the pipelines, as well as plans for a general presidential and legislative round of elections on 28 June, 2010.

If implemented, it could mean a renewed security climate in Gaza, the more volatile of the Palestinian territories.

It could also lead to a smoother democratic process, since Palestinians are quickly becoming disillusioned with their leaders.

Xinhua, of the People’s Republic of China and Ma’an of Palestine are the only news agencies to have picked up the story.

Xinhua confirms that Mahmood Abbas of Fatah has accepted the majority of the points and conditions laid out in this plan, and is in Cairo to iron out the final details.

It has emerged that Mahmood al-Zahar of Hamas has some reservations. There are some amendments he and his party would like to offer before approaching the negotiating table, although these details have not been made available to the press.

Led by al-Zahar, Hamas is also in Egypt to discuss the deal. Egypt would like all parties concerned to first sign onto the document. Then, any “observations, reservations and notes would be added after the signing, in a special appendix”, according to Egyptian spokesman Yasser al-Wadeya.

When briefing the press, Mr. al-Wadeya expected the signing of this deal to take place after the festival of Eid al Adha on Friday the 27th. This could mean that if any agreements were reached, the final details and conclusions would be ironed out in the coming days.

Another Egyptian spokesman, Eyad al-Saraj, announced that Egypt welcomes Hamas to the table and looks forward to reviewing the dossier from Hamas’ perspective. Egyptian negotiators and those involved in the crafting of this deal have shown optimism that the needs of both sides can be met.

Omar Suleiman, an Egyptian negotiator, understands that Hamas has concerns over the power this new agreement could lend Fatah and the People’s Party.

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum has made his party’s worries public, Ma’an reports. He believes this agreement will give Fatah and the Palestinian People’s Party unnecessary room to take centre-stage in a debate about constitutional vacuums and governmental responses.

“The decisions of the Central Council do not represent Hamas, or Palestinians at all. This case shouldn’t be committed to the Central Council. Palestinians themselves should take the decision.”

He has conceded however, that if drafted appropriately with acceptable terms to all parties concerned, this deal could lead to a “better destiny for Palestinians.”

The fact that this deal is being struck between Egypt and Palestine should strike a note of confidence among Middle Eastern, and even Western, powers. Egypt has a long tradition of practicing moderate Islam, and is fairly receptive Western policy.

On the other hand, its ties to its brothers are unbreakable. Egypt fought Israel to secure the safety of Palestinians in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Its commitment to fellow Arab states is unquestionable, which makes it an almost ideal broker of this new security solution.

Being the first Arab state to recognise the state of Israel, as a result of the Camp David accords, Egypt also has something of a foothold with Israel and its Western supporters.

If this new agreement contains more concrete steps towards building Palestinian security and its military, and is brokered well by Egypt and other moderate Arab states, we could see the beginnings of a strong and durable Palestinian state finally taking shape.


1 Comment

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