'The Algerian declaration': Palestinian factions to sign national reconciliation draft, ending divisions
Palestinian factions meeting in Algeria have reportedly reached an agreement on Wednesday that would hopefully end fifteen years of division among the leading Palestinian parties.
"After long discussions, it was agreed on a statement that will be issued as the Algerian document for national reconciliation," MP Mustafa Al-Barghouti, Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Al-Araby 21.
After two days of round table talks under Algerian auspices, fourteen Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fateh, agreed to sign the "Algerian declaration" and inaugurate a united Palestinian National Council.
"It was agreed to elect the Palestinian National Council at home and abroad, using a proportional representation system with the participation of all Palestinian factions, within a maximum period of one year from the date of signing the declaration," said Barghouti.
The draft also ensures factions hold general presidential and legislative elections in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, within a maximum period of one year from the date of signing the declaration.
The signing ceremony is expected to take place today, Thursday, at 5 p.m. (GMT+1) at the same hall where the late President Yasser Arafat declared the establishment of the State of Palestine in November 1988.
The "Algerian declaration" will reportedly include "unifying Palestinian national institutions, mobilising the available energies and resources to implement reconstruction projects, and supporting the infrastructure and social for the Palestinian people in a way that protects their steadfastness in the face of the Israeli occupation."
Also, an Algerian-Arab working group will supervise and follow up on the implementation of the terms of the agreement in cooperation with Palestinian officials.
However, MP Al-Barghouti said the draft does not include the inauguration of a united national government as some reports have expected.
Since 2007, the Palestinian territories have been fraught with political and geographical division, with Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip while the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, administers the West Bank.
It came after the PA and leading international powers rejected Hamas' election win.
Since then, numerous talks have failed to make a breakthrough, with each side further entrenching its position.
Since January, Algeria has launched several initiatives to mediate a Palestinian national reconciliation, hosting dozens of key political leaders from the different factions to agree on a common goal.