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Palestinians unite

The New York Times is reporting that the two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, have announced that they will create a unity government and hold new elections within a year.

[The deal] was the first tangible sign that the upheaval across the Arab world, especially the Egyptian revolution, was having an impact on the Palestinians, who have been losing faith in American-sponsored peace negotiations with Israel and seem now to be turning more to fellow Arabs. But the years of bitterness will not be easily overcome, and both sides warned of potential obstacles ahead.

Israel, feeling increasingly surrounded by unfriendly forces, denounced the unity deal as dooming future peace talks since Hamas seeks its destruction. “The Palestinian Authority has to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a televised statement. The Obama administration warned that Hamas was a terrorist organization unfit for peacemaking.

If the deal holds, it certainly cuts down on methods and strategies available to reach a peace deal.  But in the longest term, eventually Gaza and the West Bank must be reunited for peace to last.

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