Palestinian reconciliation talks begin in Cairo

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speak during an event in Gaza City. (File photo/AP)
Updated 21 November 2017

Palestinian reconciliation talks begin in Cairo

GAZA CITY: Two-day talks between Palestinian factions began on Tuesday in Cairo, complementing Egyptian efforts to achieve intra-Palestinian reconciliation and restore the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) control of the Gaza Strip.
Delegations from 13 factions from Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora arrived in Egypt on Monday.
Issues on the agenda include forming a new government, holding elections, reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and deploying PA security forces in Gaza.
Deputy chairman of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Fayez Abu Eita, said the dialogue will include enabling the Palestinian government to work freely in Gaza and unify its governance with that of the West Bank.
“There will be bilateral meetings sponsored by Egypt between Hamas and Fatah to complete the discussions,” he told Arab News.
“There’s a delay in the timetable for extending government control in Gaza. The timetable will certainly be amended.”
On Oct. 12, Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement in Cairo to begin implementing Palestinian reconciliation according to a specific timetable.
As part of the deal, Hamas has handed over ministries and crossings in Gaza to the PA in Ramallah. But deployment of PA security forces at Gaza’s border crossings has yet to take place.
Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told Arab News: “The discussions will focus on all the issues in accordance with the timetable set by the Egyptian leadership, which is sponsoring the reconciliation agreement.”
He added: “Issues of government empowerment will be discussed, along with other major issues, but it will take time to implement them.”
Political writer Hani Habib said he doubts the dialogue will achieve a breakthrough due to the factions’ different agendas and priorities.
“I think there will be strong Egyptian intervention in light of the apparent differences, in order to put forward a working paper that represents a compromise, and pressure on the Palestinian factions to agree to it, as happened at the Fatah and Hamas meeting in October,” he told Arab News.

Emotions stir in Jerusalem as HBO’s ‘Our Boys’ hits local airwaves

Updated 22 min 49 sec ago

Emotions stir in Jerusalem as HBO’s ‘Our Boys’ hits local airwaves

  • The deaths of the four youths spiraled into a seven-week war between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza

JERUSALEM: A new HBO series on the killing of a Palestinian youth after three Israeli teens were murdered in a deadly summer five years ago is stirring up painful memories for bereaved families on both sides of the conflict.

“Our Boys,” which premiered in Israel and the US last week, centers on Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian who was abducted near his East Jerusalem home and burned to death by three Israelis, two of them also teenagers, in July 2014.

“I wish I could reach into the screen and grab hold of my son,” Abu Khdeir’s mother, Suha, told Reuters, her voice breaking, soon after watching the first two episodes of the series, a co-production of HBO and Israel’s Keshet International and produced by Movie Plus.

“The show brought me right back to the pain, to the day he was kidnapped,” she said.

Prosecutors said Abu Khdeir’s convicted killers were avenging the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens — Naftali Frankel, Gilad Sha’er and Eyal Yifrach — in the occupied West Bank two weeks earlier by members of Hamas.

The deaths of the four youths spiraled into a seven-week war between Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

HBO’s 10-episode dramatization dissects Israel’s internal investigation into the three ultra-Orthodox Jews eventually convicted of Abu Khdeir’s murder and the frantic initial days after his parents learned of his disappearance and death.

The Hebrew- and Arabic-language series was written, directed and produced by two Jewish Israelis and an Arab Israeli, who mix documentary footage with live production to delve into the micro details they say drive the conflict.

“We live in an extremely nuanced world where wars erupt because of tiny things,” co-director Joseph Cedar, 50, said in an interview alongside collaborators Hagai Levi and Tawfik Abu Wael. “We tried to peel back the layers of this hate crime,” he said.

But some bereaved Israeli families have said the show largely glosses over the murder of the three Israeli teens, who are referenced throughout the series but not included as characters.

Two Hamas suspects in the murders were killed in a 2014 shootout and in 2015 an Israeli court sentenced a third Hamas member to three life terms for the teens’ abduction and murder.

Levi said the creators felt they had portrayed the context of Abu Khdeir’s killing. “But the crime is the story,” he said.