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Israel security chief doubts Palestinian unity

Israel top intelligence official says that the chances of the Palestinian reconciliation deal to succeed is zero

AFP , Wednesday 4 May 2011
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The outgoing head of Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency said on Wednesday that he doubted a reconciliation deal signed between rival Palestinian factions would succeed, media reported.

"I think that in the next two or three years the chances for real reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas that will lead to connecting Gaza to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) are almost zero," Yuval Diskin told a gathering of Israeli military correspondents.

Diskin, who ends his six-year tenure as head of Israel's internal spy agency next week, said the differences between the Western-backed Fatah party of president Mahmud Abbas and the Islamist Hamas were too great.

"This is mostly a public relations exercise, an attempt to project unity. But from here forward there are many issues that both sides don't know how to implement, especially in the field," Diskin said, according to the Ynet news website.

"Such a government will have to answer complex questions, each party will pull in its own direction. This agreement ... looks like a spicy drama, nothing more."

Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal attended a reconciliation ceremony in the Egyptian capital on Wednesday after their movements signed a deal that ends a nearly four-year feud.

Among the difficulties Fatah and Hamas face are agreeing on members of an interim government, coordinating fresh elections, integration of their rival security forces and a re organisation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

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