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PA Elections to be Set for May -- Maybe

Fatah and Hamas are allegedly set to sign another reconciliation agreement that will lead to PA elections in May, if it lasts that long?
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/16/2011, 10:30 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Fatah and Hamas are allegedly set to sign another reconciliation agreement that will lead to PA elections in May. But who knows if it will last that long?

Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), has spent years trying to convince Gaza's Hamas terrorist rulers to step up to the negotiation table to form a unity government.

But Abbas himself has no great track record at maintaining his place for any length of time in talks.

The PA leader abandoned negotiations with Israel as soon as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took office three years ago. He has since spent the entire time avoiding direct talks despite the best efforts of the United States and other Quartet leaders to bring him back to the table.

Now he and Damascus-based Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal are allegedly scheduled to meet this weekend in Cairo under the auspices of Egyptian intelligence.

The two leaders are to sign another of the countless reconciliation agreements that were signed and “almost” carried out since the last unity government was actually formed in 2007. That one lasted about a month, long enough for the two factions to return to fight for control of the government. The battle became a civil war that moved to the streets, where PA Arab blood flowed freely as the two militias tore each other apart as they fought for control over Gaza.

In the end, the Palestinian Authority territories were divided, with Gaza controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, and the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria handed to the Ramallah-based Fatah faction.

If Abbas and Mashaal actually meet in Cairo, and if they two actually sign their reconciliation document – and if the two factions actually carry out the terms of the agreement that is signed for the specified length of time – then perhaps the PA parliamentary and “presidential” elections may take place on time in May, six years after the last parliamentary elections, and seven years after Abbas was elected.