The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed Fatah faithful on Saturday during ceremonies for the second anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat. He had good news for the crowd that many have been hoping for – Fatah would be soon returning to government in a national unity administration with Hamas, as early as this month.
Abbas spoke of “great progress” in talks between the two parties, and Israel has cautiously welcomed his efforts, but there are no signs as yet Hamas is ready to recognise Israel and renounce violence. If this does not happen it matters little that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh may step down; Israel will not deal with a new government formed on those conditions.
Meanwhile in the UN the vote on a resolution condemning Israel for the massacre in Beit Hanoun this week that killed 19 civilians, sponsored by Qatar, failed in the Security Council after the USA used its veto. In the Gazan town itself the community is still trying to gather itself after Wednesday’s shattering artillery barrage caused widespread damage. Hamas says it is considering inviting international judges to investigate the incident and declare the findings to the world.