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Abbas-Hamas Cooperation? By: David Bedein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, October 05, 2007

The reliable London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported on Wednesday that Fatah is ready to renew dialogue and cooperation with their rival movement, Hamas - a decision that, if implemented, would create a crisis for both Israel and the US, both of whom have declared that Fatah would be unacceptable as a partner in peace talks if it resumed cooperation with the Hamas.

According to the report, a Palestinian source told the newspaper that Egypt's efforts to mediate between the two movements have succeeded and yielded an agreement in principle to hold talks in Cairo.

All of this is reminiscent of The Fatah-Hamas Accord that was reached in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on February 8, 2007, when Abbas and the leaders of Hamas reached agreement on the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

Members of Fatah conceded at the time that they made most of the compromises in reaching the Accord; according to one Hamas leader, "Fatah made 90 percent of the concessions, while Hamas made only 10%."

Khaled Abu Toameh, writing in the The Jerusalem Post, February 11, 2007, stated that Abbas was willing to concede the following major concessions to Hamas:

*Hamas would head the government.

*Hamas would control the Ministry of the Interior.

*Fatah would relinquish control of the significant Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance

A senior Israeli official said Wednesday afternoon, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert began his sixth meeting with Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas, that if Arab reports claiming Abbas had agreed to renew talks with Hamas were true, there was no point in continuing negotiations.

The Abbas offer to renew talks with Hamas was indeed reported on the Voice of Israel Government Radio on the 9:00 AM morning newsreel on Wednesday and not repeated again. After the Olmert-Abbas talks concluded on Wednesday, the Voice of Israel reported laconically that bi-weekly talks between Olmert and Abbas would continue as planned, until the scheduled Annapolis summit in November.

When this reporter asked the editor of the Voice of Israel radio news as to why the news item that Abbas will renew talks with Hamas was not repeated, he answered that “this was not important”.

This is another way of saying: “What the people of Israel do not know will not hurt them."

The same applies for the people of America.

David Bedein, author of the forthcoming book, "Swimming Against the Mainstream", has run the Israel Resource News Agency. www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com, since 1987, at the Beit Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, where he also heads the Center for Near East Policy Research and serves as the Middle East correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, www.thebulletin.us.

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