Doaa El-Bey looks at the latest Palestinian peace deal
Although the conclusion of the Yemeni-brokered peace deal between Fatah and Hamas in the capital Sanaa is the first official accord between the two parties since they both went their separate ways in June last year, it was met by less than optimism this week. The editorial of the political Jordanian daily Al-Dostour regarded the deal as a step forward in the right direction. It said that every Palestinian or Arab should be relieved and satisfied after the conclusion of the deal. However, that feeling is linked to the actual implementation of the deal on the ground in a way that achieves the rights of the Palestinians.
Judging by previous experiences, the editorial warned that the Mecca declaration was aborted as a result of the interference of external powers. Thus the responsibility is now in the hands of the Palestinian leaders of both Fatah and Hamas who need to work hard to preserve the new deal and protect it from external influence. "There are elements within both Fatah and Hamas willing to retain Palestinian unity whereas there are others which want nothing but differences. The conflict between the two could have a great affect on the peace deal," the editorial read. It concluded by expressing the hope that Palestinian leaders from both sides will act wisely enough to protect the Sanaa peace deal from external intervention and internal conflicts and to put Palestinian interests at the top of their list of priorities.
Talal Owkal was less optimistic than Al-Dostour as he described the deal as lacking any guarantees. He wrote in the Palestinian independent political daily Al-Ayam that the Fatah-Hamas talks a few days before the convening of the Arab summit cast doubt on the possibility of the success of the peace deal after the summit.
In addition, the deal is a mere document that recorded the agreement of both parties on intentions but that that sort of agreement was not enough to raise optimism. Owkal did not want to appear too pessimistic, saying he would consider the peace deal a step forward though one which lacks a number of guarantees, the first of which is that the two parties should immediately stop mutual political and disinformation campaigns which is spreading the culture of violence and hatred towards each other.
Other guarantees should include the two parties' commitment to conclude a comprehensive agreement and their sincere desire to reach a political partnership through a comprehensive dialogue. The writer added that given that Israel, the US and other parties will try to prevent Palestinian reconciliation, "we are in need of Arab guarantees.
"During the Damascus summit, Arab leaders should issue a clear and strong resolution supporting the Yemeni peace deal and to agree on ways of implementing it," Owkal wrote. Arab leaders should also put pressure on the party or parties that impede the implementation of the deal, as the danger of Palestinian divisions does not affect only the Palestinians but the whole region as well.
The United Arab Emirates independent political daily Al-Khaleej described the peace deal as incomplete; both parties signed a declaration that could be followed by dialogue between them. However, there are differences over the aim of the dialogue and where it would lead them. Israeli authorities have warned the Palestinian Authority against any reconciliation with Hamas and placed the PA before two options -- either talks with Israel or talks with Hamas.
"The Israeli threat to the PA after the conclusion of the Yemeni peace deal should make both Fatah and Hamas stop and think of the right response to these threats by reopening a dialogue in the hopes of reaching a serious Palestinian agreement that would serve the Palestinians and stop any Israeli or American interference in Palestinian affairs," the Al-Khaleej editorial read.
The London-based independent political daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi wrote that the Palestinian reaction to the Israeli threats showed differences within Fatah. At a time when Azzam Al-Ahmed, the Fatah representative to the talks in Sanaa, said he had received the consent of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before signing the peace deal, Abbas's advisors denied such a pledge was made. Abbas himself described the agreement as non-committal. The editorial regarded the Israeli and American objection to the deal and threats to the Palestinian authorities as the cause of differences within Fatah especially as they came from top officials.
US Vice-President Dick Cheney told reporters during his visit to the Middle East that there would not be any reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah as long as Hamas did not give up Gaza. The editorial said the differences showed there are two trends within Hamas. The first, led by Abbas, accepts the US-Israeli conditions of not opening any dialogue with Hamas and works on continuing negotiations with Israel. The second, supported by younger leaders, believes the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations will lead them nowhere and prefers to return to their previous policy of resistance. The editorial regarded the divisions within the Fatah movement as the biggest and most dangerous in the history of Palestinian resistance which could have repercussions on the Palestinians. The rift has also affected the popularity of Abbas and the ruling party. "Hamas came out as the biggest winner either from the differences within Fatah or from the Sanaa meeting during which it opened an unconditional dialogue with Fatah," the editorial concluded.
Ghassan Al-Imam was the most pessimistic writer as he described this week as the week of Arab failures. He listed a number of Arab failures including that of Yemeni mediation between Fatah and Hamas and the failure of the dialogue between Morocco and the POLISARIO. "The Yemeni initiative is bound to fail. The vanity of both Hamas and Fatah still exceeds their common faith in the value of uniting their resistance and Jihad to end the Israeli occupation," Al-Imam wrote in the London-based political daily Asharq Al-Awsat . He questioned why the voice of division and conflict is louder than that of wisdom, ascribing the phenomenon to a historical reason: the Arab states failed to realise they are one nation that share the same language and culture, if not the same interests. As a result, at present, the factors for division far exceed those of unity.