Hamas, Fatah Agree to Unite

And this time, they mean it
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2012 7:56 AM CST
Activists wave Palestinian flags and hold election ballots during a protest calling for Fatah/Hamas unity in front of the recently reopened Central Elections commission in Gaza City, Jan. 25, 2012.   (AP photo/Adel Hana)
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(Newser) – Palestine's rival factions, Hamas and Fatah, say they've finally agreed on a deal for a unified government, hoping to present a united front in their negotiations with Israel. Of course, they said the same thing last spring. That deal hit the rocks because the sides couldn't agree on a prime minister, but now they've agreed to allow Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas to at least temporarily lead an interim government, the New York Times reports.

The deal was announced at a news conference in Qatar, and broadcast across the region. Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said he was "happy with this agreement," because by presenting a unified front, Palestine would "be free for facing the enemy," meaning Israel. Israel and the West have refused to negotiate with Hamas until it recognizes Israel, but its absence from talks has often been a stumbling block. The move also come as Hamas is in flux thanks to the turmoil in Syria, with leadership abandoning its headquarters there. (Read more Fatah stories.)

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