After Doha, challenges to Hamas-Fateh unity remain

RAMALLAH — The deal signed in Doha by rival Palestinian movements Fateh and Hamas has moved the two sides closer to reconciliation but challenges remain, officials and experts warn.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads Fateh, and Hamas chief Khaled Mishaal signed an accord on Monday placing Abbas at the head of an interim consensus government to supervise the run-up to elections later this year.

The deal was hailed as a compromise after a bitter dispute over who would head the temporary government that had stalled a reconciliation deal signed by all Palestinian factions in April and May 2011.

But analyst George Giacaman, director of the Ramallah-based Muwattin think tank, said several other aspects of the April deal remain unimplemented.

“There is a deal to form a government now, but the majority of the clauses of the reconciliation deal that was concluded in May have not yet been applied,” he said.

He pointed in particular to the deal’s call for the merging of the rival security forces of Hamas and Fateh and the reform of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), an umbrella group to which Hamas does not belong.

“The merging of the security services has not been done and is not possible because of the occupation, and the PLO file is important,” he said.

“What happened in Doha is an expression of good intentions and is a good step, but the reconciliation file is thick and will not be resolved quickly.”

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Palestinians demonstrate in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday in solidarity with Khader Adnan, a senior member of Islamic Jihad jailed in Israel, who has been on a hunger strike for over seven weeks (AP photo by Majdi Mohammed)

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