Daily Israel Report

Fatah, Hamas to Meet in Cairo Despite Unrest

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal plan to hold reconciliation talks in Cairo despite the unrest rocking the country.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 11/23/2011, 9:34 PM

Palestinian Authority and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal will meet in Cairo this week despite the unrest rocking Egypt.

Egypt has been shaken in recent days by renewed protests calling for the interim military junta that has ruled the country since President Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February to step down.

But officials from Fatah and Hamas said the unrest would not derail a planned meeting between Mashaal and Abbas later this week.

The talks will go ahead "as scheduled on Thursday," Hamas official Ismail Radwan told AFP in Gaza

Radwan's remarks were confirmed by senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad to the semi-official Maan News Agency.

The two leaders are due to finalize details of a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, which was signed in May but has yet to be implemented.

The deal called for the immediate formation of an interim government to pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections within a year.

But implementation of the agreement has stalled, with the two sides failing to agree on the make-up of the caretaker government and, in particular, who will head it.

Abbas has reportedly insisted on keeping Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, in a demand repeatedly rejected by Hamas.

Fayyad has already agreed to step down and called on the two factions to select a suitable replacement saying he "will not be used as a pretext to avoid reconciliation."

Analysts say Hamas has been reluctant to form a new coalition with Fatah due to fiscal insolvency and ongoing corruption probes in Ramallah - as well as divisions of Abbas' now moribund statehood bid at the United Nations.

Earlier this year Mashaal went so far as to say "governance is bad for the resistance."

Radwan refused to confirm reports that Hamas would agree to implement a year-long truce with Israel.

"There is no discussion about the management of the fight against the occupation, but the issue is subject to national agreement (between all factions) before and after the formation of the government," he said.

International observers note Hamas' inclusion in Ramallah's government may lead to a final end of the languishing Oslo Accords, especially in light of Hamas continued strong showing in opinion polls.

Hamas - which continues in its genocidal mantra of Israel's destruction – is opposed to any negotiations or agreements with Israel.