Palestinians in Gaza responded with caution on Thursday to reports that a unity deal had been agreed between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo the evening before.
Hopes of an end to the four year division, which saw the Strip and West Bank split into separate governments, were tempered by the questions raised by Wednesday’s sudden announcement.
Whereas past reports of progress towards unity had been met with celebration, Gaza’s residents this time wanted to know if the agreement would address difficult issues that had been suspended between the two parties, or whether the report was simply a media spectacle.
For Gaza resident Abu Khalil, the facts of the situation had not changed.
“There is no horizon nor a political future for reconciliation,” he told Ma’an, “the political situation between the two movements is collapsed [and] the economy is devastated.
“There will nothing new after reconciliation because our cause is in crisis,” he continued.
Meanwhile, a woman named Umm Ali told Ma’an she was happy an agreement had been signed, and hoped her family might be reunited, having been separated by the division between Gaza and the West Bank.
She was fearful, however, that the reports amounted only to media rhetoric.
Political analyst Mustafa As-Sawaf said "the prevailing state of anxiety could be explained by the failure of previous talks in Mecca, Sanaa, Senegal, and multiple rounds in Egypt, which did not amount to anything."
"The concerns of the Palestinian people are legitimate," he said.
People want to see practical results on the ground, As-Sawaf told Ma’an, including the end of all the components of division, and greater wellbeing for Palestinian society, saying that any agreement should move quickly towards implementation to give citizens a feeling of hope.
The success of the agreement depends on the honest intentions of the Fatah and Hamas movements, he said, looking to the interests of Palestinians, and not their factional and partisan agendas.
Four years of division will need a year to make arrangements for its ending, and prepare for open and democratic elections, As-Sawaf noted.