The signing of a reconciliation accord in Cairo between Fateh and Hamas promises the start of a new era in the inter-Palestinian relations.
One, nevertheless, expresses optimism timidly; this is not the first time Fateh, the mainstream faction in the West Bank, and Hamas, the ruling faction in Gaza, have come close to sealing a peace deal, only to see it unravel later on under the strain of events that tested the depth of these accords.
This time around, particularly following the overthrow of the regime of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, there are new dynamics at play, both at Palestinian and at regional levels.
The ruling group in Cairo now is changing its position vis-à-vis the Palestinians; Rafah border with Gaza was recently reopened, thus easing the blockade that Israel has been imposing on the strip.
At the same time, one wishes to believe that the Palestinian factions, having seen where the ultimate national interests lie, will have come to realise that the Palestinian quest for a homeland will not see the light of day without achieving unity first.
Why, then, the scepticism about the recent reconciliation deal struck in the Egyptian capital?
The first sign of a crack was over the divergent perspectives between Hamas and Fateh were on the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Ben Laden. While the government of Mahmoud Abbas “rejoiced” over his killing, Hamas did not, and described Ben Laden as a martyr.