Palestinians sign unity deal…so what?

Ha’aretz reports that Hamas and Fatah have signed a deal for a unity government. Hamas has agreed to ‘respect’ previous PA agreements with Israel; as we’ve discussed before, this is a compromise formulation that does not mean the same thing as ‘accepting’ them. Hamas also stated that the agreement follows the principles of the “prisoners’ document” and does not imply recognition of Israel. There is no mention in the article of a renunciation of terrorism against Israel (the prisoners’ document does call for a renunciation of violence between Palestinians).

If the agreement is as described the Ha’aretz article, this will not be adequate to meet international requirements to restart the flow of money to the Palestinian Authority — unless it’s decided to pretend that it is.

Update [8 Feb 2202 PST]: The Jerusalem Post reports that Saudi Arabia has promised $1 billion (that’s with a ‘b’) in aid to the unified PA.

The two parties also agreed that the political platform of the unity government would not require Hamas to abide by previous agreements signed between the PLO and Israel, one of the three conditions the Quartet had set for granting the Hamas government legitimacy.

Instead, the unity government has been asked to “honor” the agreements with Israel, as well as resolutions of the United Nations and Arab summits pertaining to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Moreover, the Fatah-Hamas agreement does not require the unity government to explicitly recognize Israel’s right to exist or Hamas to renounce violence, which was another of the Quartet’s requirements.

So it is more or less what we expected. The Saudi financing means that there is no need for the PA to make concessions to the quartet, reducing US leverage. It also seems to mean that the Palestinian movement will be taking orders from Riyadh rather than Teheran. And finally, it’s highly unlikely that this will provide a framework for a peace deal with Israel.

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