Palestinians to ink reconciliation deal
Tue, 03 May 2011 04:19:59 GMT
Major Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah prepare to ink a reconciliation deal in Egypt following a recent agreement to form a unity government.
The deal is expected to be officially signed on Tuesday in the Egyptian capital of Cairo by Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy to Hamas' Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal, and senior Fatah member Azzam al-Ahmed, AFP reported.
The two sides reached an understanding in Cairo last Wednesday to establish an interim unity government and hold presidential and legislative elections within a year.
Meshaal and Mahmoud Abbas, the acting Chief of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) would attend a Wednesday ceremony to sign the pact.
The two factions have been at odds since Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006.
Following Hamas's election victory, Fatah set up headquarters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, thus limiting governance by Hamas to the Gaza Strip, a comparably smaller portion of Palestinian territories.
Israel, which reacted to Hamas' democratically-elected rule over Palestinian affairs by laying a crippling siege on Gaza and keeping the sliver under regular deadly attacks, has also voiced unease with the prospects of reconciliation.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has called on the United Nations to force some clauses into the Palestinian deal, including one that obliges Hamas to recognize Israel.
Hamas has blasted the idea emphasizing that the Tel Aviv regime is attempting to 'blackmail' the movement by raising such ideas.
Also in Sunday, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said he had suspended transfer of USD 89 million in custom fees and tax money entitled to the PA, arguing that the funds would find their way to Hamas.