JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: RAMALLAH STIRS. Writing from the city that houses the Palestinian government, Jo-Ann Mort reminds us of the conflict that remains the core issue in the region, and documents glimmers of potential forward movement:
Prior to Meshal's meddling, Palestinian factions had been forging a partnership -- one that might even produce a unity government -- orchestrated as a result of a document negotiated and finalized at the end of June by prominent Palestinian prisoners held in Israel�s Hadarim jail. That document marks the first time that all the Palestinian factions have come together to sign a statement of principles.
The key figure in the making of the prisoners� document is Marwan Barghouti, considered the leading figure in the generation known as �Young Fatah� that came of age during the First Intifada (1987-1993). Barghouti is often mentioned as a possible successor to Mazen in the event that the Israelis free him.
One of Barghouti�s top allies is Qadora Fares, a 14-year veteran of Israeli imprisonment...
"When there is no hope, Hamas tells the Palestinians that resistance is the only way we can achieve our rights," [Fares] said. The prisoners� document offers a possible first step, to convince Hamas and its supporters to embrace a program that recognizes Israel and to jump-start negotiations. The significance of the document, says Fares, is that in it, "Hamas said we should build a state on the 1967 borders for the first time. To sign a document is the first step to agree to the principle of a two-state solution� The Israelis should not read this agreement by Israeli eyes. As Fatah, it took us more than 20 years to make a change; with Hamas it took five months. I believe now that Hamas and Fatah and all the factions are ready to have a cease-fire in Gaza and the West Bank for six months and renew it every six months -- and a prisoner exchange. Abu Mazen can use this new climate to make a new government, new politics, and new messages."
Read the whole thing.