Hamas, Fatah deadlocked over Palestinian unity

Rival factions end fourth round of power-sharing talks without deal, will meet again on May 16.

hamas fatah talks 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
hamas fatah talks 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Fatah and Hamas negotiators once again failed to reach agreement over the formation of a unity government, prompting the Egyptians to postpone the talks until May 16. Representatives of the two parties held "reconciliation" talks in Cairo on Monday and Tuesday in what was described as a last-chance attempt to solve the power struggle between them. The main difference between the two sides remains over the political program of the proposed unity government and whether it should recognize Israel and previous agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians. Hamas representative Ali Barakeh said that Fatah was trying to impose US conditions on his movement by demanding recognition of Israel and the agreements. He also accused unnamed "elements" in Fatah of working toward foiling the unity talks. "There are many officials in the Palestinian Authority who are afraid of losing their privileges if the dispute with Hamas is resolved," he said. "These people, especially the heads of the PA security forces, have a lot to lose." Barakeh said that despite the failure of the talks, the two sides managed to achieve slight progress on other issues such as reforming the PLO and the Palestinian security forces and holding new elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed said the decision to postpone the talks until May 16 was taken despite the positive atmosphere that prevailed during the two days of talks in Cairo. He said the Egyptians decided to delay the talks after realizing that the gap between the two parties, particularly over the political program of the unity government, remained as wide as ever.