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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Deep divisions remain as Palestine searches for unity

(PalestineTwitter)-Hamas PM Ismail Haniyah delivered a comprehensive political speech, addressing the Palestinian nation, elaborating on the recent developments regarding the unity deal. He said the Israeli war and the ongoing siege have failed to break the will of the Palestinian people, adding that he will not be the PM of the new government

Whether the rival groups can overcome the challenges this time will probably depend on the course of regional upheaval that brought them to what one analyst said was a deal forged out of "necessity rather than conviction".

The Palestinian reconciliation has further changed the political landscape of the Middle East. For the first time in years, Palestinians will again be represented by a single government. This will strengthen their voice on the world stage. It has also given renewed impetus to the Palestinian statehood bid, which will be put to a vote at the UN General Assembly in September.

With the help of its Western allies, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has built security forces trained to keep law and order in West Bank cities and prevent any repeat of what happened in Gaza in 2007, when Hamas seized control there.

Hamas has developed its own security forces in Gaza, while maintaining a military wing designed for armed conflict with Israel - an objective openly opposed by PA president Mahmoud Abbas.

Given the extraordinary changes in the Middle East, experts say the US administration, the EU, as well as Israel must realize that the Gaza siege and the kind of policy that sought to isolate Hamas have failed

The PLO is the umbrella group led by Mr Abbas which has led negotiations with Israel over the past two decades. Hamas is not a member, but is set play some part in the temporary body.

The PA's Western donors, including the US, have said the new government must commit to conditions including recognition of Israel and the renunciation of violence - terms Hamas will not accept.

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