Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas may be getting closer to striking a unity deal, with Mahmoud Abbas telling euronews that common ground has been reached.
Speaking in an interview to be shown in full on Friday night at 21.45 CET, the Palestinian Authority President listed areas in which he said Hamas and his Fatah faction now see eye to eye.
These include that any pact must be respected in the West Bank and Gaza and that resistance must be peaceful without the use of weapons.
One important common point, he said, was that the end of the conflict with Israel must be in line with 1967 borders and that Palestinian elections must be organised for May 5.
Analysts have suggested Hamas which runs Gaza may be ready to lay down its arms. But at a rally on Wednesday, the Islamist group’s leader in the territory Ismail Haniyeh declared: “Armed resistance is the way and is the strategic choice to liberate Palestine.”
Whatever deal might be reached, it does not mean progress in the peace process. Hamas and some other groups still refuse to recognise Israel’s existence.
“Hamas and Jihad must understand and agree for the existence of Israel,” Israeli Home Front Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told euronews. “Until now, they are against it. You have to understand, from their point of view, the whole Middle East is ‘waqf.’ It is holy ground, holy Muslim ground.”
And on the ground, tension remains high. An attack on a West Bank mosque on Thursday is being blamed on radical Jewish settlers. It is thought to be the latest act of defiance at what they see as Israeli government moves to limit settlement building.