News broke this morning that the two leading Palestinian factions - Hamas and Fatah - announced a unity agreement, part of which will include creating a single Palestinian government. The announcement came amid efforts on all sides to revive floundering peace talks, and is likely to be treated as a broadside against peace efforts.
Attention will now turn, among other things, to the composition and commitments of any new Palestinian cabinet. Hamas - which remains committed to the destruction of Israel - has long demanded that any Palestinian unity government abrogate commitments made over decades of peace negotiations with the Jewish state.
Washington and the rest of the international community, in contrast, has long held that any Palestinian government would have to uphold key previously signed obligations: (1) An end to violence, (2) Acceptance of previous agreements between Israel and the PLO, and (3) Recognition of Israel. U.S. law, moreover, limits assistance to a Palestinian government that includes terrorists. It is unclear to what degree the Palestinians will be willing or able to meet these conditions.
Listen in as The Israel Project hosts a conference call with Professor Hillel Frisch, senior research fellow at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies and senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University. Professor Frisch will discuss today\'s developments and the implications of a Palestinian unity agreement in the context of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
About The Speaker
Professor Hillel Frisch is an associate professor in the Departments of Political Studies and Middle East History in Bar-Ilan University, and a senior researcher at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies. He has written numerous articles on Palestinian and Arab politics and the military in leading political science and Middle East journals. He has participated in advisory forums organized by the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, NATO, the US State Department, Foreign Ministry of France, the British Foreign Office, Israeli Foreign Ministry, Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands, GLORIA, the Truman and Davis Institutes, the Hebrew University, the German Marshal Fund, and the Israel Defense Forces. He is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and English.