Could a rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah be on the horizon? Sources close to Hamas told Haaretz yesterday that the Islamist group is willing to engage in a “reconciliation accord” with its political rival. That accord will be signed before the end of 2009. Also on the table for negotiation is incorporating Hamas militants into the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, which are currently controlled by Fatah, incorporating Hamas representatives into PLO institutions, releasing Hamas backers from P.A. prisons in the West Bank, and creating a unity government pledged to “respect” if not quite adhere to the tenets of the Oslo Accords.
A Hamas delegation is due to arrive in Cairo Tuesday, on the heels of several high-profile visits to the city by the group’s leader Khalid Meshal. This announcement of intra-Palestinian reconciliation was timed to coincide with imminent release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who has spent more than four years in a Hamas prison, and comes about a week before P.A. President and Fatah head Mahoud Abbas is set to meet with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu as a preliminary to peace talks.
Hamas, Fatah Set to Reconcile by 2010 [Haaretz]