Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Progress on the Recognition Issue?

From Haaretz.

Hamas, Fatah reach deal on plan that implicitly recognizes Israel

By News Agencies

Hamas and Fatah on Tuesday completed an agreement over a plan that implicitly recognizes Israel, ending weeks of acrimonious negotiations, a top official said.

"We have an agreement over the document," said Ibrahim Abu Najah, coordination of the "national dialogue" over the proposal.

Palestinain Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah has been trying to coax his Hamas rivals into endorsing the document, which calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, based on the 1967 borders.

All the obstacles were removed and an agreement was reached on all the points of the prisoners' document," Rawhi Fattouh, a senior aide to Abbas, said after factions meeting in Gaza initialed the accord.

Fattouh said Haniyeh and Abbas would formally announce the deal later in the day. A Hamas spokesman confirmed an agreement was reached.

But the phrasing of the deal between Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas deal appeared to leave the prime minister's movement wriggle room on the issue.

He has endorsed the plan as a way to end crippling economic sanctions against the Hamas-led Palestinian government and pave the way to reopening peace talks.

Western states imposed sanctions on the Palestinian government following Hamas' victory in parliamentary elections earlier this year, in the wake of the group's refusal to recognize Israel, renounce violence or abide by peace treaties signed by its predecessor, Fatah.

Islamic Jihad, another militant group, said it still rejected several points in the document, including the concept of a Palestinian state limited to the West Bank and Gaza.

Jihad Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad official, said the group would issue a statement later detailing its final position.

Some Palestinian sources said the tense security situation, with the Israel Defense Forces massing troops and tanks on Gaza's border in the wake of the abduction of an IDF soldier, had pushed the factions to intensify their efforts to reach a political agreement.

The Guardian has this:

Fears of an Israeli assault on Gaza have all but overshadowed the agreement between Hamas and Fatah over the so-called "prisoners' document", which brings to an end months of tensions that have seen gun battles between armed forces loyal to the two groups.

Palestinian politics has been torn between president Mahmoud Abbas, who is a member of Fatah, and the more hardline Hamas party that has dominated its parliament since the January elections.

The US and EU imposed sanctions on the Palestinian territories after the elections because it considers Hamas a terrorist group, but the "prisoners' document" is hoped to address international concerns by toning down Hamas' insistence on armed force and its implacable opposition to the existence of Israel.

Negotiator Salah Zeidan said preparations were being made for a formal signing ceremony. "All political groups are prepared for a mutual ceasefire with Israel," he said.

"We have an agreement over the document," said Ibrahim Abu Najah, coordinator of the "national dialogue" over the proposal.


At 10:31 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Boom, boom, boom.

In case you've not heard latest breaking news @ BBC yet, Gert.

Israeli planes hit Gaza bridges

Israel's military has attacked three bridges in Gaza amid heightened tension over the capture of an Israeli soldier.
The Israeli military confirmed that the first strike was aimed at stopping Palestinian militants moving Cpl Gilad Shalit, who was abducted on Sunday.

Israel has warned of large-scale military action and tanks have been gathering on the border with Gaza.

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah earlier agreed a document outlining a common political platform.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Here's a link.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Gert said...


I don't think we'll see any really large scale military action, merely the usual stretching of military muscle.

But I could be wrong of course.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Richard said...


Today they've said they may strike inside Syria [another sovereign state] to get some of their 'designated bad guys'.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Gert said...


I believe they're referring to the Damascus based group led by Khaled Meshal. These guys aren't exactly great peace-lovers. Complicated...

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Richard said...


What if the Israeli's decided there were bad guys in Britain - so we also were fair game for a strike?

Actually, I know what. Nothing, nada, nowt, zero, zilch, sweet fanny adams. Why? Because we're not such an easy touch. Still, I suppose one could call that [admittedly hypothetical scenario,'complicated'] too.

It just occured to me. What would Israel do if these bad guys were found in Iran? Or in any other large, reasonably well armed country?

(Rhetorical question[s], of course).

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Gert said...


Right now it's a bit like reading tea leaves. Somehow I doubt if they will try and touch Meshal: it would cause a serious escalation. If I'm wrong on this, that would mean that the Israelis will try and destroy Hamas' leadership and infrastructure and be done with it. It's a possible scenario but to this tea leave reader not the most probable at the moment. Perhaps I'm getting soft in my old age?

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Nah, you're not getting soft, Gert.

Seriously though, all tea leaves aside, a premeditated military strike inside Syria [or any other state] would be nothing less than an act of war.

But then I suppose, these days, as the old song goes '... everybody's doin' it, doin' it ... '

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

I don't know how to tell you this, but Israel and Syria are in a state of War. It might not be an Active war but it is one none the less. We have been in that state for over 58 years now.

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Richard said...


Don't fret yourself, the way you told me was fine. Is there anyone else Israel is at war with that you'd care to confide in me about?


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