The recent meetings in Cairo aiming to reinvigorate the Palestinian political reconciliation process appear to have made progress. They’ve made problems too. Following the discussion between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply criticized Abbas’ move towards the leader of the Gaza terror group.
In a statement released by his office on Thursday, Netanyahu said Abbas “embraces the head of a terrorist organization that declared only last month that Israel must be wiped off the map. This is not how someone who wants peace behaves.”
While Abbas is generally seen by the US as a potential peace partner with Israel—despite his refusal to negotiate over the last two-plus years—Hamas is seen as intransigent since they refuse to eschew violence or recognize Israel.
Meshaal recently gave speeches in Gaza where he claimed all of Israel as Palestinian territory and promoted violence as the best means towards getting what the Palestinians want.
The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported the two men met in Cairo this week to try and restart the Palestinian unity efforts, and later reported that Meshaal acknowledged they have decided to restart the agreement on unity reached in 2011.
The renewed efforts to reconcile the Palestinian groups come after years of unsuccessful efforts. Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah faction effectively split control of the Palestinians when Hamas kicked Fatah out of Gaza in bloody coup in 2007.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 11, 2013)