The move towards new elections by
Fatah and Hamas
Article added on July 2, 2011
Palestine is slowly moving towards the establishment of
a universally recognized and fully functioning state. Fatah and Hamas wanted
to form a unity government in order to seek recognition as an independent
state by the United Nations General Assembly in September.
However, not only do the United States oppose such a move, but the fragile reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas
has not gone very far since the April 27 and May 4, 2011 deal signed in
The rivalry between the two Palestinian factions remains too strong. So far,
Fatah and Hamas have neither established a unity government nor finalized
the details regarding new parliamentary and presidential elections agreed
upon in Cairo.
Many obstacles lay ahead of international and Israeli recognition of a
Palestinian state. First and foremost the 1988 anti-Semitic Hamas Charter,
which is asking for the destruction of the state of Israel, has to be
2008, the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told a group of European
parliamentarians that the Hamas government was willing to accept a
Palestinian state within the 1967 borders as well as to offer a long-term
truce (hudna) with Israel if, in return, Israel fully recognized the
Palestinians' rights. However, until today, a full recognition of the state
of Israeli by Hamas
remains on the table.
Minor issues remain too.
Hamas is still asking for the release of a thousand Palestinian prisoners,
including many men convicted of murdering Israeli's, in order to release
Gilad Shalit, the famous Israeli soldier abducted by Palestinians in 2006.
The release of Gilad Shalit could be a first symbolic move towards a normalization
of the relations between Hamas and Israel.
Ismaïl Haniyeh's condemnation of Bin Laden's liquidation by the USA was not
very helpful either. It offered Netanyahu's government another argument not
to negotiate with the Palestinian side now including Hamas.
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Will the compromise between Fatah and Hamas hold? It was the fruit of
the pressure of Palestinian citizens on their politicians in the wake of the
“Arab Spring”, which is
fundamentally transforming the region.
Protesters in the Gaza strip were asking for a Palestinian reconciliation.
Assad's regime in Syria is close to crumbling. In any case, it has lost its
legitimacy. With Assad, a Hamas power base is in danger.
Palestinian President Abbas on the other side knows that presidential and
parliamentary elections are overdue. He cannot talk in the name of all
Palestinians. A continued division could lead to a definitive split into two
entities: the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The end of Mubarak's regime in
Egypt meant the loss of a regional ally for Abbas.
In 2006, Hamas won 48.3% and Fatah 43.8% of the Palestinian vote. After new
elections, it is well possible that the losing side will question the
result. Therefore, free and fair elections under international supervision are urgently needed.
Only a president, a government and a parliament with the backing of the
majority of the Palestinian citizens will be legitimate to act on behalf of
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As for the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, he is not among the
constructive forces in the region either. With the very reliable Abbas and
Fayyad, he could have gone much further. To develop the commerce between the
West Bank and Israel was surely the right thing to do. However, Netanyahu's
improvements of economic relations were not intended as a first step towards
mutual recognition, but as a continuation of Sharon's obstruction policy:
delay the establishment of a Palestinian government until the cows come
home. Economic goodies for Palestinians are not an alternative to political
Netanyahu is of course right to insist on the recognition of the Israeli
state by Hamas. At the same time, his coalition government with Lieberman
and the ultra-orthodox parties is anything but a peace offer. Continued
settlements show his true intentions.
As for President Obama, he rightly asked for an end to settlements. When
Netanyahu refused to do so, the American president reversed his position,
further undermining the US credibility as a fair arbiter in the region.
Many countries are fed up with Israel. Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador
and Bolivia have recognized the Palestinian state in 2011. His
speech to Congress was not a recipe for peace. Time is running out
The same holds true for Abbas (*1935). He repeatedly said that he will not
stand for reelection. Fatah remains a corrupt party. Will the reconciliation
between the religious and the secular Palestinians be possible? It is time
for the creation of new Palestinian parties with new faces and fresh ideas.
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Below the full text of the April 27 and May 4, 2011 Cairo Agreement
between Fatah and Hamas
(translated by Al Mubadara of the Palestinian National
Initiative by Mustafa Barghouti):
This document is currently in the process of being signed
by all of Palestine’s factions and parties.
Under the auspices of Egypt, delegations from the Fatah
and Hamas movements met in Cairo on April 27, 2011 to discuss the issues
concerning ending the political division and the achievement of national
unity. On top of the issues were some reservations related to the
Palestinian National Unity Accord made in 2009.
Both political parties mutually agreed that the basis of
understanding made during the meeting are committing to both parties in the
implementation of the Palestinian National Reconciliation Agreement. The
basis of understanding agreed upon by Fatah and Hamas are as follows.
A. Election Committee:
Both Fatah and Hamas agree to identify the names of the
members of the Central Election Commission in agreement with the Palestinian
factions. This list will then be submitted to the Palestinian President who
will issue a decree of the reformation of the committee.
B. Electoral Court:
Both Fatah and Hamas agree on the nomination of no more
than twelve judges to be members of the Electoral Court. This list will then
be submitted to the Palestinian President in order to take the necessary
legal actions to form the Electoral Court in agreement with the Palestinian
C. Timing of Elections:
The Legislative, Presidential, and the Palestinian
National Council elections will be conducted at the same time exactly one
year after the signing of the Palestinian National Reconciliation Agreement.
2. Palestine Liberation Organization
The political parties of both Fatah and Hamas agree that
the tasks and decisions of the provisional interim leadership cannot be
hindered or obstructed, but in a manner that is not conflicting with the
authorities of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation
It was emphasized that the formation of the Higher
Security Committee which will be formed by a decree of the Palestinian
President and will consist of professional officers in consensus.
A. Formation of the Government:
Both Fatah and Hamas agree to form a Palestinian
government and to appoint the Prime Minister and Ministers in consensus
B. Functions of the Government:
1. Preparation of necessary condition for the conduction
of Presidential, Legislative and the Palestinian National Council elections.
2. Supervising and addressing the prevalent issues
regarding the internal Palestinian reconciliation resulting from the state
3. Follow-up of the reconstruction operations in the Gaza
Strip and the efforts to end the siege and blockade that is imposed on it.
4. Continuation of the implementation of the provisions of
the Palestinian National Accord.
5. To resolve the civil and administrative problems that
resulted from the division.
6. Unification of the Palestinian National Authority
institutions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.
7. To fix the status of the associations, Non-Governmental
Organizations and charities.
5. Legislative Council:
Both Fatah and Hamas agree to reactivate the Palestinian
Legislative Council in accordance to the Basic Law.
- Islamic Jihad
- Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
- Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
- Palestinian People’s Party
- Palestinian Popular Struggle Front
- Palestinian Liberation Front
- Arab Liberation Front
- Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command
- Baath Arab Socialist Party (al-Saika)
- Palestinian Arab Front
- Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA)
- Popular Resistance Committees [observer status only]