By Meredith Lee-Clark
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
CAIRO, Egypt – Jordanian and Egyptian officials announced on October 5 that rival Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas will sign a reconciliation charter in Cairo at the end of October.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Egypt’s foreign minister, and his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh said that the charter would establish an advisory committee, comprised of members from Fatah and Hamas, which will make decisions regarding the day-to-day governance in the West Bank and Gaza until presidential and parliamentary elections are held in the first half of 2010. According to reports, the committee would be headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose government would be able to place three thousand security personnel in Gaza. Both parties have also reportedly agreed to release each other’s political detainees. Fatah and Hamas have been at odds since an internal power struggle nearly two years ago.
While the two parties have not publically commented on the agreement, Aboul Gheit said that the parties are finalizing plans for the charter.
“We agreed to hold a meeting for Palestinian factions in Cairo on October 25 before signing a reconciliation agreement on October 26,” said Aboul Gheit at a press conference on October 5. “Arab officials and maybe officials from outside the Arab world might attend the signing of the agreement as witnesses.”
The announcement came amid controversy over Fatah’s endorsement of President Abbas’ decision to postpone any endorsement of the UN report by former international war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone about the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza during the 2008 winter. Ismail Haniya, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, said that Abbas was making an “absurd and criminal” decision in delaying his endorsement of the report.
“How can the two parties [Fatah and Hamas] sit at one table and sign an agreement in this situation?” said Haniya after the announcement of the charter. “This has placed a heavy obstacle in the way of Palestinian unity.”
Aboul Gheit said he did not expect any tensions surrounding the Goldstone Report to prevent Fatah and Hamas from signing the charter at the end of the month.
For more information, please see:
Al Jazeera – Palestinians to “Sign Unity Deal” – 6 October 2009
Ha’aretz – Palestinian Rivals to Sign Reconciliation Deal by End of October – 5 October 2009
Ma’an News Agency – Egypt: Hamas and Fatah Will Sign Deal in October – 5 October 2009
Palestinian News Network – Heads in the Sand: Hamas Head of PLC Says Coming Back Without Issue While Abbas Postpones Goldstone – 5 October 2009
Reuters – Fatah and Hamas Eye Truce Deal, But Hurdles Remain – 4 October 2009