GAZA CITY: The Palestinian factions, who agreed in the recently concluded Cairo dialogue to form a national coalition government after the legislative elections in May, have postponed a discussion on their political program.

Palestinian sources, who participated in the two-day talks under Egypt’s auspices, said that several factions in the drafting committee had “reservations” about the political program of the coalition government not being defined precisely.

On Jan. 15, President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree calling for elections in three stages, starting in May.

A senior official in a left-wing organization said the factions agreed to postpone talking about the government’s political program so it would not be a “hindrance” to the success of the Cairo dialogue.

According to Jibril Rajoub, secretary of Fatah’s central committee and head of its delegation at the Cairo talks, the agreement between the factions stipulates that the legislative elections will be held with the formation of a national coalition government that will implement agreed mechanisms to end the internal division.

He said: “The desired government will work on the path of unity of all state institutions and agencies, whether security or civic, and draw up a unified national policy based on justice and equality in all Palestinian governorates (the West Bank and Gaza Strip).”

Hosam Badran, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, confirmed what Rajoub said.

“There is an agreement to form a national unity government in order to move forward toward strengthening the Palestinian home front,” Badran told Arab News

He added: “The Palestinian general position speaks of the necessity and importance of forming a government of national unity, regardless of the election result.”

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Badran stressed that the Cairo dialogue did not discuss the ministerial portfolios of the government, but “there is no doubt that the size of each party is one of the criteria for forming a government. The idea is not a quota, but a joint action that includes everyone, including independent and honest national figures.

“We want a government that deals with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza with the same rights and duties, on the basis of justice and equality, and works to unify the various Palestinian institutions.” 

He added: “There is a political disagreement between Hamas and Fatah over how to establish a Palestinian state. While Fatah believes that negotiation is the way, Hamas thinks that armed resistance is the best way forward.”

Regarding the political program of the upcoming government, Badran said: “It was not talked about because it was premature, but its determinants are clear. It was mentioned in the final statement of the Cairo dialogue, which talks about the National Accord Document.”

The National Accord Document was based on an agreement reached by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons in 2006, which could not prevent the division in mid-2007.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) was one of the factions in the drafting committee in Cairo. Majda Al-Masry, a member of the DFLP delegation at the Cairo dialogue, said “We have reservations, but we did not want it to be an obstacle to an agreement.”

“We hoped the agreement to form a coalition government would include an emphasis on its adoption of the decisions of the Palestinian National Council in its 23rd session, especially those related to the relationship with the occupation,” Al-Masry told Arab News.

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Among the decisions of the National Council during its session held in Ramallah in May 2018 was the task of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to suspend recognition of Israel until it recognizes the State of Palestine based on the borders of 1967; revokes the decision to annex East Jerusalem, and halts settlements.

Al-Masry said: “We found that there is already an agreement between the two sides of the division (Fatah and Hamas) on many points, and we will not be an obstacle, and we have pushed the agreement forward, even if we preferred to form a transitional government that will prepare and supervise the elections.”

The Palestinian factions are scheduled to return to meet in Cairo next month to discuss the mechanisms of forming the National Council of the PLO and agree on the legal basis for the elections.

Fayez Abu Eita, deputy secretary of the Revolutionary Council of the Fatah movement, told Arab News that the agreement to form a national coalition government is based mainly on the principle of ending the division and moving forward toward a true national partnership.

“There are common grounds and commonalities, and it is important now to establish a new phase in which everyone leaves the path of division for the democratic way to succeed,” Abu Eita said. 



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