Naturally, the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas is widely covered on Friday in the Arab press, which focuses on Israel’s decision to suspend negotiations with the PLO in response.
“Israel vetoes the ‘agreement with Hamas’ and Abbas assures Indyk of technocrat government,” reads the headline in the London-based daily Al-Hayat. The paper claims that Israel “has tried to veto the Palestinian reconciliation agreement, saying that PA President Mahmoud Abbas still has the chance to renege on his agreement with Hamas and continue negotiating with Israel.”
Leading its front page with a photo of Palestinian citizens celebrating reconciliation by waving large Palestinian flags, the headline of the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reads: “Israel threatens sanctions and prevents 2,000 trucks from entering the Gaza Strip.”
“Upcoming talks between Fatah and Hamas to form a national unity government are expected to face difficulties as names of independents are examined for the government headed by President Mahmoud Abbas,” reads the article.
A-Sharq Al-Awsat, a Saudi-owned newspaper printed in London, also features the reconciliation story from the perspective of Israel’s reaction to it.
“Israel takes steps against the PA in response to reconciliation,” reads the headline, featuring a photo of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh speaking to Fatah representative Azzam Al-Ahmad in a Gaza conference room.
The paper’s columnist Abdul Rahman Rashed claims in an op-ed titled “Will Hamas finally submit to Fatah?” that Israel fears Fatah more than it fears Hamas.
“The Israeli government does not consider Hamas a danger to it as much as it does the Ramallah government,” writes Rashed. “Hamas has always been instrumental in sabotaging agreements, enabling Netanyahu to evade his international obligation under the pretext of Hamas’s empty missiles. Hamas is Tel Aviv’s allied enemy, while the Ramallah government is nothing but the oppressed partner.
“Although the reconciliation agreement is the best news we’ve heard in years in Palestine, it is probably like celebrity weddings. Big fanfare and quick divorce.”
Similar to pan-Arab media, Palestinian media focuses on Friday on Israel’s reaction to reconciliation, reporting that the PLO is “examining all options” in response to Israeli sanctions.
Despite the language of accord spoken by Hamas’s Haniyeh and Fatah’s Al-Ahmad, the challenge of reconciliation lies in its implementation, writes Rajab Abu-Sariyeh in an op-ed in official PA daily Al-Ayyam.
“Implementation… could have begun three years ago, when the Cairo agreement was signed on April 27, 2011, or with the Doha declaration on February 6, 2012. But Hamas/Gaza headed by Ismail Haniyeh personally is the one who stalled implementation!” writes Abu-Sariyeh, refusing to let bygones be bygones.