By Mohamed el-Sawwaf – Gaza
Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah have given their initial blessings to an Egyptian-crafted reconciliation plan to end months of divisions that followed weeks of infighting.
"The paper has several positive points and we will not reject it," Salah Al-Bardawil, a leading Hamas lawmaker, said on Tuesday, October 21.
"Many of these points are similar to what we have already agreed with Egypt."
Egypt, which has been trying for months to bridge Palestinian gaps, submitted to all factions a detailed proposal to be the basis for Palestinian national dialogue.
The paper calls for forming a government of independents or technocrats or a national unity government acceptable to Fatah, Hamas and other factions.
The mission of the new government will be ending the months-long siege on Gaza Strip, preparing for legislative and presidential elections, restructuring security agencies and reforming the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Bardawil, the Hamas MP, asserted the Egyptian paper is being scrutinized by Hamas leadership inside the impoverished coastal enclave.
"It will also be reviewed by Hamas leaders abroad and some modifications will be made to the document. Then the paper will be sent to Egypt."
Hamas has expressed reservations about holding legislative elections before the expiry of the mandate of the current parliament in January 2010.
It insists on implementing previous understandings with Fatah on reforming the PLO, a body seen internationally as representing the Palestinian people and in which Hamas is not a member.
The rival Fatah of President Mahmoud Abbas has already welcomed the Egyptian document as a good basis for Palestinian national dialogue.
"We have received the suggested Egyptian document and the decision to hold a meeting on November 9," Azzam al-Ahmed, who heads the Fatah parliamentary bloc, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"We want to launch a comprehensive national dialogue to reach an understanding on all the issues."
Egypt has invited both Hamas and Fatah to meet in Cairo on November 9 for talks aimed at restoring Palestinian unity.
"Hamas has no problem in attending and we were the first to call for Palestinian-Palestinian talks to end the internal conflict," said spokesman Fawzi Barhum.
Egypt has threatened Hamas and other Palestinian groups with "penalties" if case of foiling its reconciliation initiative.
It will publicly announce the failure of the Palestinian dialogue and name and shame the group responsible.