Mahmoud Abbas (L) and Ismail Heniyeh (R), - Photo: Reuters, AFP
CAIRO – 18 September 2017: Egypt has been mediating to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah since 2005. The conflict between the Hamas movement and the Palestinian Authority started in 2004 following the election of Mahmoud Abbas as president due to differences in ideologies.
About seven previous reconciliation attempts between Fatah and Hamas since 2007 have failed, including the Fatah-Hamas Doha talks in 2012. Here is the role of Egypt in such attempts throughout that time:
Palestinian Cairo Declaration:
Egypt hosted talks between President Abbas and 12 Palestinian political factions in 2005. The declaration stressed on establishing a Palestinian state, whose capital is Jerusalem, as well as easing tensions with Israel if it stopped its aggression against the Palestinian people and territories and if it released detainees.
The declaration also objected settlements, the Israeli-West Bank barrier and Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem.
Regarding internal affairs, participants of the talks agreed on assuming reforms in different sectors, setting a legislative law, and holding municipal and legislative elections. That is in addition to forming a committee that would set principles upon which the Palestinian Liberation Organization would be developed. The committee would comprise of members of all national factions.
Participants concurred that internal conflicts must be resolved through dialogue and abandoning violence.
Palestinian National Reconciliation Accord:
That accord was signed by different Palestinian factions in Cairo in 2009, building upon the principles set in the declaration. The accord had set precise measures that must be taken in order to achieve the inclusion of all factions in the political process.
The accord is divided into five sections: the Palestinian Liberation Organization, elections, security, national reconciliations and freeing detainees of all factions.
Social Reconciliation Accord in Cairo, 2011:
On April 27, 2011, Palestinian factions agreed on forming a temporary inclusive government and holding presidential and legislative elections in 2012.
On May 4, 2011, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of the Hamas Political Bureau at that time, Khaled Mashal, signed the accord, setting the founding principles to form the transitional technocrat government responsible for holding elections.
The accord also allowed Hamas to join the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which is currently dominated by Fatah.
The accord aimed at restoring unity among the Palestinian political actors after four years of conflict starting in 2007. It was inked by the Egyptian authority in 2009, and was accepted by the two parties in May 2011 following Palestinian demonstrations.
The 2012 Fatah-Hamas Cairo Agreement:
Fatah representatives Azzam El Ahmed and Sakhr Bseiso met in Cairo with Hamas representatives Mousa Abou Marzouk and Mohamed Nasr on May 12, 2012. They agreed on starting discussions on the formation of the government on May 27, 2012. The discussions would be assumed by the Hamas and Fatah delegations in Gaza, and be concluded within 10 days.
Both delegations concurred that Egypt would supervise and observe each party’s fulfillment of its duties, as well as issues of public freedoms.
Reconciliation in 2017:
The Hamas movement announced on Sunday the dissolution of the administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, inviting the Government of National Reconciliation to assume its duties and hold general elections. The movement affirmed that it would comply with the Social Reconciliation Accord signed with Fatah in 2011.
In July 2017, Hamas announced forming an administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian authorities accused Hamas then of attempting to form a shadow government and forming an independent state in Gaza.
Hamas and Fatah would start a dialogue and form a national unity government upon the Egyptian initiative to achieve unity among Palestinian powers.
Head of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo on September 10 to meet with a number of Egyptian officials to discuss inter-Palestinian reconciliation and the situation of the Gazan people, according to Hamas’ statement. That is his first visit since he took office last May.
A delegation from the Fatah movement, being led by head of the Fatah parliamentary bloc Azzam al-Ahmed, arrived on Saturday in Cairo to discuss ways to implement Palestinian reconciliation.