Spanner in the works

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The US administration took exactly a week to respond to the landmark agreement under which a Palestinian unity government has been proposed. The pact was designed to end the decade-long rift between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s party and Hamas. UN officials have described it as a significant deal that could lead to addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. However, Jason Greenblatt, a special aide to the US president, laid out his own preconditions before Hamas and the Palestinian government. The principal condition, spelled out by Greenblatt, is that the unity government must recognise the state of Israel and disarm Hamas. Though the group has been quick to reject the US proposal as “blatant interference” in Palestinian affairs it has not signalled whether it intends to comply with this or any other US demand.

The US objections revolve around the idea of non-violence and are roughly in line with principles set out earlier by the Middle East peace quartet — the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. Under the reconciliation pact, Hamas has agreed to hand over power to Mahmoud Abbas’s party in Gaza. But on Thursday Greenblatt warned that if Hamas plays any role in the Palestinian government, it must be ready to disarm as well as to recognise Israel. The PLO officially recognises Israel but Hamas does not.

Unsurprisingly, the US comments closely mirror the Israeli response to the Palestinian agreement.

The Palestinian Authority is expected to take full control of the Gaza Strip by December 1. This is not the first time that an attempt has been made to forge a unity government. In 2014, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas agreed to form a government of technocrats but it did not last long and collapsed. One hopes the latest agreement holds and the Palestinian rivals can profit from peace.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2017.

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The post Spanner in the works appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Source: Tribune News | Spanner in the works

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