Key steps toward Palestinian reconciliation
President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a Palestinian unity government Monday, taking a major step toward ending a crippling territorial and political split among the Palestinians.
Here are some key events on the road toward Palestinian reconciliation:
January 2006 — Hamas overwhelmingly wins legislative elections over Fatah. The two form a coalition government with Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah as president and Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh as prime minister.
June 2007 — Hamas ousts Fatah and takes over the Gaza Strip in a bloody battle, leading to the dissolution of the unity government. Abbas declares a state of emergency, forms a new Cabinet without Hamas and outlaws the movement’s armed wing.
March 2008 — Hamas and Fatah begin attempts to reconcile, signing an agreement in Yemen that calls for a return to the pre-June 2007 status in Gaza and for continued negotiations. No tangible steps toward reconciliation are followed through.
April 2011 — The sides attempt reconciliation again with an Egyptian-brokered deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemns the accord, saying Abbas must choose between “peace with Israel and peace with Hamas.” The deal is derailed over disagreements surrounding the prime ministerial candidates.
February 2012 — With the Arab Spring in full swing and the Middle East in flux, Fatah and Hamas again try to push forward with reconciliation, this time mediated by Qatar. Implementation of the agreement stalls and, amid the regional rise of political Islam, Hamas suggests it is better off not subordinating itself to Abbas.
April 2014 — Israel halts faltering peace talks when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announces he is moving forward with reconciliation with Hamas. Hamas and Fatah agree to form a unity government and hold presidential and legislative elections within six months. Abbas pledges the government will accept peace agreements with Israel and renounce violence.
June 2014 — Amid last-minute wrangling, the unity government is sworn in, a major step in reconciliation between the groups.