United in protest against Israeli action in Jerusalem, Palestinians in Gaza were also a step closer to having a unified government after the Mecca Declaration. The green flags of Hamas supporters mingled with the yellow ones of Fatah, a sign the deal between the two groups’ leaders had brought the Palestinian people closer together.
The accord signed in Mecca paves the way for a national unity government… a step that could bring to an end escalating factional violence. The plan provides cabinet posts for the main Palestinian parties, with Hamas’ Ismael Haniyeh staying on as Prime Minister.
International reaction to the agreement has been positive but cautious. Hamas claims the text does not include recognition of Israel. This will be one of the criteria as the EU and the US ponder the lifting of aid restrictions to Palestinians. In the West Bank, the key word for Palestinians was hope: “That there will be a commitment and the siege on Palestinians will be lifted” says one man. “That they’ll follow it through and it’s not just words like the ones before” adds another. Palestinians must wait for the West to examine the Mecca text. For now though living together has been made that much easier.