Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement hammered out an agreement with rival group Hamas on Wednesday, setting the stage for forming an interim government as well as fixing a date for a general election.
"The consultations resulted in full understandings over all points of discussions, including setting up an interim agreement with specific tasks and to set a date for election," Egyptian intelligence said in a statement.
Spokespeople for both Hamas and Fatah confirmed that "all differences" have been worked out between the long-feuding Palestinians political movements.
A spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas has agreed to hold elections within a year, a part of the reconciliation deal it signed in Cairo.
A Hamas spokesperson said that "all points of differences" between the rival groups have been overcome. He added that officials in Cairo will soon invite top Hamas and Fatah officials for a signing ceremony in the Egyptian capital.
Here is where it is useful to know a little history.
Palestinian Arabs have long been able to put together temporary, paper agreements and truces to achieve larger political goals. Inevitably, Westerners are consistently fooled by these, stupidly believing that short-term absence of violence indicates a long-term shift in attitudes.
In 1947, in the months before the UN Partition vote, virtually all Arab terror against Jews stopped. Amazing! The Arabs were proving to th world that they could act responsibly and run an Arab-led Palestine where they would protect the Jews as Islam requires them to, and they were puching this as an alternate plan to partitioning Palestine.
But within hours of the UN vote to partition Palestine, the Arabs gave up their pretense of peacefulness and started attacking Jews (in those days, they didn't bother with calling them "Zionists.")
In the months before Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas managed miraculously to reduce rocket fire from Gaza, and the rocket count dropped dramatically from 1157 in 2004 to 417 in 2005 as Israel implemented the plan. The next year, the number of rocket attacks increased back up to nearly the pre-disengagement levels.
Now the Palestinian Arabs are faced with another deadline.
The PA is putting all of their eggs in the unilateral recognition basket, that they are hoping the world provides to them in September. The biggest obstacle to that recognition was the simple fact that the PA and Hamas are hopelessly split - ideologically, physically and politically. There is no way that sympathetic Europeans can overlook that problem and support the establishment of a state where there are two competing rulers.
Hamas also recognizes the immense political value that recognition would bring them - something that, like the disengagement, would happen once and would likely never be reversed.
So even though Fatah and Hamas have been negotiating for years over the exact same issues without being able to come to an agreement, they now are agreeing to paper over their differences with vague wording that is just enough to convince the credulous, wishful-thinking West that they major obstacle to Palestinian Arab independence has been removed.
Note the little we do know: "Hamas has agreed to hold elections within a year." You can bet that the elections will be scheduled after September, because the result of elections beforehand - either way - would torpedo any chance for a unity government.
Vagueness will be the hallmark of the agreement - just enough to fool the world into thinking that these two groups can work together. Hamas can play the unity game until September, and, if the world is sufficiently fooled, for a few months afterwards. Then the elections, or absence of elections, will start to rock this false alliance.
By then, they hope, Palestine will already be de facto recognized as a state, and Israel will be on the ropes politically anyway. The world will be cheerleading the PalArab insistence on ethically cleansing the heart of the Land of Israel of Jews, and Hamas-Fatahstan will blame all of their new problems on Israel. They will say things like they cannot accept Palestinian Arab "refugees" in their new state as long as Israel holds any of "their" land. The ever present threat of them exploding in a new terror war will cause the West to pressure Israel, as always, as they insist on Israeli concessions to solve their problems.
The outline of what is coming is clear. Because we've seen this game before. Unfortunately, Western amnesia will help ensure that it plays out the way the PalArabs are planning it.
UPDATE: Barry Rubin concurs.
Elder of Ziyon