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June 2011, Week 2

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Wed, 8 Jun 2011 23:08:47 -0400
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Revealed: the untold story of the deal that shocked the
Middle East

Exclusive by Robert Fisk
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
www.independent.co.uk

Secret meetings between Palestinian intermediaries,
Egyptian intelligence officials, the Turkish foreign
minister, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas
leader Khaled Meshaal - the latter requiring a covert
journey to Damascus with a detour round the rebellious
city of Deraa - brought about the Palestinian unity which
has so disturbed both Israelis and the American
government. Fatah and Hamas ended four years of conflict
in May with an agreement that is crucial to the
Paslestinian demand for a state.

A series of detailed letters, accepted by all sides, of
which The Independent has copies, show just how complex
the negotiations were; Hamas also sought - and received -
the support of Syrian President Bachar al-Assad, the
country's vice president Farouk al-Sharaa and its foreign
minister, Walid Moallem. Among the results was an
agreement by Meshaal to end Hamas rocket attacks on Israel
from Gaza - since resistance would be the right only of
the state - and agreement that a future Palestinian state
be based on Israel's 1967 borders.

"Without the goodwill of all sides, the help of the
Egyptians and the acceptance of the Syrians - and the
desire of the Palestinians to unite after the start of the
Arab Spring, we could not have done this," one of the
principal intermediaries, 75-year old Munib Masri, told
me. It was Masri who helped to set up a 'Palestinian
Forum' of independents after the Fatah-dominated
Palestinian Authority and Hamas originally split after
Hamas won an extraordinary election victory in 2006. "I
thought the divisions that had opened up could be a
catastrophe and we went for four years back and forth
between the various parties," Masri said. "Abu Mazen
(Mahmoud Abbas) asked me several times to mediate. We
opened meetings in the West Bank. We had people from Gaza.
Everyone participated. We had a lot of capability."

for the rest of this story, go to

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/revealed-the-untold-story-of-the-deal-that-shocked-the-middle-east-2293879.html

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