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A New Palestinian Unity Government?

February 7, 2012

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have signed a new reconciliation agreement this week, known as the “Doha Declaration” (for the city where it was signed, Doha, Qatar). According to the terms of the agreement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of secular Fatah, will temporarily become prime minister of the unity government. The accord also calls for presidential and legislative elections to be held in Gaza and the West Bank. The New York Times reports here that the new government will probably try to hold elections this spring, as the parties agreed when the unity accord was first signed, last May.

Many Palestinians are skeptical the new deal will ever be implemented. After all, the Palestinian leadership has been divided for five years and has repeatedly tried, and failed, in its efforts to create a unity government.

What does this mean for peace in the Middle East? Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamn Netanyahu, has denounced the declaration, as reported here, arguing “If [Abbas] will implement what was signed in Doha, [Qatar,] he will be choosing to abandon the path of peace and join with [Islamist] Hamas.”

Al Jazeera asks in the video below: “How effective can a Palestinian government really be if Israel simply refuses to communicate with it”? See Al Jazeera’s accompanying story here.

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