YNet News (Link) - Ali Waked (March 6, 2009)
Senior Palestinian Authority officials believe that now is the time to exert massive international pressure on Israel, following US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to the region and ahead of the establishment of a new Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu.
"There is an opportunity for the world to strongly enter the diplomatic negotiations and impose the two-state solution on Israel," a senior PA official told Ynet on Friday.
"The world did not intervene when Israel had a convenient government in which Kadima and Labor made the decisions, claiming that this was the Israeli peace camp bargaining on marginal issues.
"Here the world will understand that this Israeli government opposes the peace process and its current form in principle and ideologically, and therefore we anticipate that this is the best timing for the world to intervene and force Israel to implement the agreements."
The source expressed his hope that Hamas would restrain the elements damaging the chances of reconciliation. "This is the time to show that the Palestinians are the peace camp. They are the ones who believe in agreements, they are the ones calling for the implementation of the two-state solution based on Annapolis and the Road Map, while the Israeli side is the non-partner."
The peace process and recognition of agreements signed with Israel will be at the focus of attention during the reconciliation talks which will be resumed this coming Sunday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated this week during his meetings with Clinton and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana that the unity government would have to recognize Israel and the signed agreements, but Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Zahar rejected any possibility of recognizing the Jewish state.
Meanwhile, the dispute among the Palestinians on the recognition of agreements signed with Israel continues. A Hamas source told Ynet that Fatah members were the last to believe in the signed agreement.
"The entire world understands that these agreements have passed from this world. An overwhelming majority of the Israelis elected a government which does not recognize these agreements, and only here there are people in Fatah who cling to these agreements in order to torpedo all the unity efforts and in order to preserve the privileges which some of the PA and Fatah people hold."
Five different committees will try and reach a Palestinian unity as part of the resumed dialogue between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo. The main committee is the "reconciliation committee" which will deal with all the reconciliation and unity elements.
The "election committee" is slated to determine the election system in the PA if both sides agree on new elections for the Palestinian Legislative Committee and presidency. The "government committee" is slated to discuss the unity government's platform, which is the main objective of this current round of dialogue.
The "security organizations committee" is meant to discuss the rebuilding of the organizations in order to reduce the Fatah movement's influence on them and guarantee that their members are elected on a professional background rather than based on their faction membership.
The fifth and intriguing committee is the "committee for the reconstruction of the PLO institutions." The two sides are in disagreement as to the ways to integrate Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the PLO institutions and as to the weight given to these movements, mainly to Hamas, inside the PLO.
Each of the committees is considered critical and highly sensitive. Hamas demands, although not publicly, that its politburo chief Khaled Mashaal will be given the post of deputy PLO chairman.
As for the election system, Fatah hopes to reach a formula which will slightly limit Hamas' influence.