After a decade of hostility and recrimination, the two main Palestinian factions came together in Cairo on Thursday to sign a reconciliation deal that holds out the tantalizing prospect of a united Palestinian front.
Hamas representative Saleh al-Arouri speaks after signing a reconciliation deal with senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, during a short ceremony at the Egyptian intelligence complex in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.
In 2007, when the two groups could not agree on sharing power, Hamas drove Fatah leaders out of Gaza and wrested control of the seaside territory, leaving Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in control only of parts of the West Bank. Our suffering is one.
The book also contains comments by Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, who described the Hamas strategy as a "terrible mistake", explaining that negotiating with both Hamas and Fatah resulted in double the negotiations and concessions made.
The agreement requires Hamas to refrain from any activity that would foment a confrontation with Israel, Haaretz reported, citing the London-based Arabic language newspaper Asharq Alawsat. "We must make this clear, because there will be new worldwide pressure on Israel to renew negotiations with the PA following the agreement".
With Hamas in control, conditions in Gaza deteriorated.
According to the deal, the Palestinian consensus government would fully take over running the daily affairs in the Gaza Strip from the hands of Hamas. But instead, the worldwide community should have tried to "pull Hamas into a dialogue", Blair said in an interview for Donald Macintyre's "Gaza: Preparing for Dawn", which is set to be released in November. The contentious issue of paying Hamas employees aims to be resolved by February 1, with the PA expected to continue issuing the workers' salaries; whereas, the even stickier matter of the fate of Hamas' armed wing seems not to have been concretely addressed, although a clause in the agreement calls for PA officials in Gaza to begin devising ways to rebuild their security forces there. Among the sanctions was the Palestinian's decision to not pay Israel for electricity provided to Gaza, leading to a serious cut in the number of hours a day that electricity is available.