Will Palestinian Reconciliation Revive the Two-State Solution?
If Israel doesn't accept the deep concessions it will have to make for peace, the recent reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah will not mark the beginning of the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will merely be the start of a new chapter.
RAMALLAH – When representatives of the two major Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, signed a new reconciliation agreement in Cairo on October 12, the focus was not on those actually doing the signing, Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad and Deputy Head of the Hamas Politburo Saleh al-Arouri. Instead, all eyes were on the man standing behind them: Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate.
The ceremony, held at the intelligence agency’s headquarters, was orchestrated entirely by the Egyptians, who view the reconciliation as a stepping-stone to a much larger goal. As the agreement stated in its opening, it stemmed from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s “insistence” on ending the divisions among Palestinians, “with the aim of creating an independent state” along pre-1967 borders.
Egypt’s leadership in this process will raise the country’s standing in the Arab world, reinforcing its position as a regional heavyweight. Already, the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah has gone some way toward achieving that, while providing a badly needed morale boost for Sisi’s government.