Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ghassan Khatib, " The Obama effect may positively influence Palestinian dialogue," BitterLemons, March 2, 2009.

The Palestinian reconciliation dialogue is one of three important negotiations processes currently mediated by Egypt. The other two are the indirect ceasefire and prisoner exchange negotiations between Israel and Hamas. But the three processes are strongly interrelated and interdependent.

The national reconciliation dialogue convened at the headquarters of Egyptian intelligence in Cairo on February 26. It was opened with strong words from Omar Suleiman, head of Egyptian intelligence, and included at least five representatives from each of the 13 Palestinian factions in addition to many independent personalities.

To maximize chances of success, Egypt did two things. It first hosted a two-day meeting between the representatives of Fateh and Hamas during which the two sides agreed to end public attacks on each other through the media, release prisoners from jails in Gaza and the West Bank and agree on the agenda for a national reconciliation process.

  The Arab summit conference that Qatar convened against the will of half the Arab states, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, really set the alarm bells ringing.

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