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Israel should give Palestinian reconciliation a chance

The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation took Israel and others by surprise, and while intelligence sources are skeptical about the move, it should be given a chance because Hamas might be ready to enter the negotiating tent.
Senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed (L), head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh (C) and senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq hold their hands after announcing a reconciliation agreement in Gaza City April 23, 2014. The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to implement a unity pact, both sides announced in a joint news conference.REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3MC27

Let’s start with the good news. The reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Ismail Haniyeh’s government, between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — which rattled Israel, the United States and the international community — will help all parties to easily skip past the April 29 deadline of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations while teetering onward toward the next stage.

On that date, the initial nine-month period allotted for the negotiations will have come to an end. As was to be expected, this pregnancy did not produce a healthy, smiling baby, but a probable continuation of the “blame game” between the two intractable parties. The greatest fear was that if they were unable to reach a deal to extend the negotiations, the whole affair would come to an end, at which time the Palestinians would campaign at the United Nations in a manner that would irreversibly kill the process. For now, at least, this concern has been dispelled.

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