Aimed at what most Palestinians hope will be peaceful unity between rival groups, an agreement was reached by Fatah and Hamas in Cairo on Wednesday. And that did not please Israel. –ARK

The Guardian:

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the head of Fatah, and Khaled Meshaal, the leader of the Islamist movement Hamas, met for the first time in five years at a ceremony in Cairo on Wednesday, where Egypt’s transitional government pulled off a striking coup by brokering the deal.

… The deal will make it easier for the Palestinians to go to the UN in September and demand broad international recognition of an independent state – without a negotiated peace agreement with Israel.

It provides for the creation of a joint caretaker government before Palestinian-wide elections next year. It does not require Hamas to recognise Israel. But sensitivities and difficulties ahead were underlined by an argument over protocol – whether Meshaal should sit on the podium with Abbas or among other delegates in the hall.

The agreement was hailed in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and refugee camps in Lebanon. But the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, savaged the accord as “a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism”.

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