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Abbas must accept Gaza, West Bank will not unite

A long-term truce between Israel and Hamas could perpetuate Gaza's separation from the West Bank, but that might be the price of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians toward a future comprehensive agreement.

Information is leaking out slowly, but each new tidbit seems to indicate that Israel and Hamas are in serious discussions about reaching a long-term agreement. Ahmed Youssef, who was chief of staff for the movement’s former leader, Ismail Haniyeh, confirmed to Al-Hayat Aug. 18 that Israel has a detailed outline for a truce formulated by Tony Blair, the Quartet’s former emissary to the region. Based on what Youssef said, it seems that Hamas is prepared to accept the outline and they are now waiting for Israel to agree, so that the negotiating teams could be formed and the practical details of the agreement could be hammered out. Youssef added that a Hamas delegation is now waiting for Egypt’s approval to set out for a series of meetings with senior officials in Cairo, Turkey and Qatar, at which they would discuss the truce outline.

In an interview with France 24, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki confirmed that an agreement is taking shape that will end the siege on the Gaza Strip. “We don't know if it will happen tomorrow or in a month from now," he told the interviewer, "but all indications are telling us that yes, there is a serious level of negotiations. There are mediators who are doing their utmost to reach this agreement.”

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