An outpouring of joy and relief in Gaza has greeted a deal that promises to bring stability to Palestinians. Fireworks lit up a sky more used to explosions of a far more sinister nature. The accord – which paves the way for a Palestinian unity government – could stop weeks of internal violence and bring an end to a crippling aid embargo.
Rival factions Hamas and Fatah settled their differences in the holy city of Mecca. They agreed to work together to form a government with Hamas’ Ismael Haniyeh remaining Prime Minister. Cabinet posts will be shared between his party and the more moderate Fatah, with key appointment also going to independents.
The EU has welcomed the move. Washington remains more reserved as the key question of recognising the state of Israel is reportedly not included in the text, although previous peace agreements are to be respected. Back in Hebron in the West Bank, the word on most people’s lips was hope: “We hope there’ll be a commitment to the deal and that it will lift the siege imposed on the Palestinian people” said one man. “We hope it’s not just words,” adds another, “especially as it was made on holy ground.” The Israeli issue remains unsure and the details are yet to be thrashed out, but the principle has given Palestinians cause to celebrate.