The latest mediation efforts to resolve the political crisis between rival Palestinian leaders have failed. Qatar’s foreign minister first held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and then with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Sheikh Hamad was trying to get both sides to agree on terms that would allow the formation of a national unity government.
But the talks are said to have become unstuck because of Haniyeh’s Hamas-led government’s continued objection to recognise Israel. He also refused to accept previously signed agreements with Israel. The impasse has triggered infighting and a power struggle between Hamas and Abbas’s once dominant Fatah faction. That rivalry has been spilling out onto the streets. The violence and frustration is compounded by worsening poverty. A western economic embargo on Hamas means thousands of salaries remain unpaid.