The London based Arabic daily Al Quds Al Arabi covered today in its editorial the Palestinian reconciliation document brokered by the Egyptian government. The following is a translation by Middle East Monitor of this insightful analysis.
The Palestinian Liberation Movement (Fatah) presented today a signed copy of the reconciliation document to the Egyptian authorities while the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) said it is presently studying the document and it would not sign under pressure.
Hamas' caution, tough long, appears that it would be extended, as the final date for signing the document according to the decision of the Egyptian authorities is the end of today, Thursday 15 October. This eventuality would put the Egyptians in a very difficult position and may sabotage all the efforts that it expended throughout the past six months at the very least.
This reconciliation document is filled with mines. It makes the Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas, the final point of reference for the council supervising and monitoring its implementation. It forbids the formation of any military force outside the remit of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security agencies, a clear signal to the factions and to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in particular. This has already stirred considerable doubt and mistrust by the factions concerned of attitudes toward them.
Hamas requested a postponement of the signing in order to clarify its position after the scandal of the Goldstone Report erupted following the PA's decision to defer the vote on the document in the Human Rights Council. Meanwhile the reconciliation document's identification of Israel as the enemy is unclear; it is not mentioned in any part of the document as an Occupying State that practices the theft of land, judaization of Occupied Jerusalem and construction of settlements.
What it is possible to read between the lines of the reconciliation document is the attempt to suppress the resistance movements, and restore the Gaza Strip to the 'economic peace process' which is gathering pace in the West Bank under the supervision of General Keith Dayton and Tony Blair with the assistance of the authority in Ramallah. It is clear therefore that Israel wants to achieve this objective indirectly and through the reconciliation document after it failed to do so through its military aggression on the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian reconciliation must be founded on the premises of resistance and opposition to the occupation not on the basis of coexistence with it and facilitating its mission of settlement expansion, judaization of Jerusalem and the obliteration of the constants of the Palestinian national struggle, foremost of which is the right of return.
President Mahmud Abbas no longer represents a point of reference for any effort toward Palestinian reconciliation after the grave errors which he committed recently the most significant relating to the Goldstone Report, his return to the negotiating table in Washington, and his shaking of the hands of Benyamin Netanyaho and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman without their meeting the condition of a freeze of all settlement activity.
The continuation of the construction of settlements by the Israeli government and its conduct of every form of provocation to prevent the debate of the Goldstone Report in the international arena must be met with a Palestinian document that rallies around the option of all forms of resistance and an end to peace talks and negotiations. We therefore believe the Egyptian reconciliation document does not reflect this basic legitimate objective.