What is the Mecca Agreement?
The Mecca Agreement, also known as the “Mecca Declaration,” is an agreement between two Palestinian factions of power, Hamas and Fatah. At the time of the Mecca Agreement, Hamas was represented by Khaled Mashaal and by the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya. Fatah was represented by Mahmoud Abbas, the President of Palestinian Authority, and also by a member of Palestinian parliament, Mohammed Dahlan.
Final stipulations of the Mecca Agreement were negotiated through talks between Hamas and Fatah representatives, which lasted more than a week, and took place in the Saudi city of Mecca. The primary objectives of the Mecca Agreement were to bring violent fighting between the two factions to an end, as well as to form a new Palestinian government based on national unity. The fighting, which had become increasingly violent in the year leading up to the Mecca Agreement, had been concentrated in the areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas appeared in a public ceremony on 8 February 2007 in the city of Mecca. Here the two signed the Mecca Agreement, and announced further aims held by their respective parties. Mashaal called for an immediate end to the violence between Hamas and Fatah, while Abbas implored the newly delegated government to adhere to previous agreements between Palestine and its territory rival, Israel.
The new government delegated by the Mecca Agreement allowed Ismail Haniya to remain Prime Minister. Positions within the Palestinian cabinet were divided among Hamas, Fatah, and four other Palestinian groups, while the areas of finance, interior, and foreign affairs were delegated to independent parties. Perhaps disappointingly to the international community, the Mecca Agreement made no specific mention of Israel, or of any plans to recognize Israeli territorial legitimacy.
By June 2007, the Mecca Agreement seemed to have crumbled. Then President of Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, had dismissed the unified government dictated by the Mecca Agreement. Tensions between Hamas and Fatah again exploded into crisis, spurring Arab ministers and heads of other Arab countries to call emergency meetings. Spokespersons for Saudi Arabia, which had brokered the Mecca Agreement, called for Palestinian factions to re-adhere to the terms negotiated therein. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal also expressed that the re-emergence of conflict between Hamas and Fatah served the territorial interests of Israel, and was thus self-defeating to both Palestinian groups.
It sounds like they should renegotiate Mecca agreement again. This time written with specifics on Israel and plans to recognize Israeli territorial legitimacies. Could this be the key to help ending the feud with Hamas and Fatah?
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