The political deadlock between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ and
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s efforts to form a national unity
government between Hamas and Fatah continues. Hope that the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasmin Al Thani
could resolve the stalemate through mediation efforts has dissipated. 

Al Thani met with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus Monday before meeting with Abbas and Haniyeh in Gaza Monday night to present Qatar’s 6 point plan, which included forming a government of technocrats and arranging a meeting between Abbas and Meshal.

The proposal, which Abbas approved beforehand, addressed larger problems such as the internal crisis between Hamas and Fatah as well as the international political and economic boycott on the Hamas-led government and the Palestinian Israeli conflict, but so far nothing has been solved.

Yassir Abd Rabbu, a senior Abbas aide, said on Tuesday "The differences on the core issues have remained … in the light of tonight's talks it does not seem as if we are closer to an agreement." 

There are two main obstacles preventing the formation of a coalition government. Hamas has repeatedly said it will not recognize Israel’s right to exist and it will not renounce armed resistance. Until Hamas reverses its position, there will be no unity government and in fact, Abbas may call for early elections.

Rabbu added, "This initiative is the last political effort that is being exerted and the opportunity must be seized because the alternative is to hold early elections."

According to the plan, the new government would accept the Quartet’s conditions, release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and Hamas would join PLO institutions in accordance with the 2005 Cairo agreement.

Although Al Thani has left the area, he plans to continue acting as mediator, but no arrangements have been made for his return. 

Al Thani’s visit comes at a tense time as Hamas and Fatah supporters battle each other on the streets, resulting in the deaths of 15 people, in the worst internal fighting in over ten years. 

Sourced from Al Jazeera and Haaretz