Fatah, Hamas Reconciliation Talks End Without Agreement

The latest round of reconciliation talks between Fatah, the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority, and the terrorist group Hamas ended without an accord, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

The only agreement that the two parties reached was to avoid discussing the negotiations with the media. Ziad al-Thatha, a senior Hamas official, indicated that while reconciliation talks would continue, a number of “thorny” issues remained.

These unresolved issues include determining the kind of political program that a unity government would adopt, and the status of payments to Hamas civil servants by such a government. Fatah has refused to pay civil servants in the Gaza Strip, who have not been given salaries for months. (Mail on Sunday reported this week that the PA pays significant stipends to convicted Hamas terrorists.)

“We hope that [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas will comply with the demands of the Palestinians, and agree to partnership [with Hamas] in order to end the division,” al-Thatha said.

Muhammad Shtayyeh, a senior PA official involved in the talks, claimed earlier that Fatah and Hamas had already reached an agreement on forming a unity government and holding presidential and parliamentary elections. However, the two sides have yet to agree on a political agenda, which Shtayyeh said would have to follow that of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and PA President Mahmoud Abbas in order to avoid an international boycott.

The Middle East Quartet (consisting of the UN, EU, U.S. and Russia) requires “that all members of a future Palestinian government must be committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.” A joint Fatah-Hamas government that does not renounce violence and Hamas’ stated goal of destroying Israel would violate the Quartet’s principles and force many governments to suspend aid to the PA.

The PA has intermittently sought to create a unity government with Hamas over the past several years, even though the terrorist group never moderated its stance towards Israel.

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