Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Good News - For Once?

It is not that usual with days when good pieces of news are coming out of the Middle East.

But yesterday seems to have been such a day.

There now seems to be some sort of agreement to set up a new coalition government in the Palestinian Athority.

It means that Hamas will share power with Fatah - something Hamas offer before, but Fatah then refused.

One of the basis for the new government is the so called prisoners document drafted by key Palestinians in Israeli jails. This document contains an implicit recognition of Israel, and seems now to have been accepted by Hamas.

This is undoubtedly an important step forward. The key question is now whether it will lead the Israelis and the US to lift their different sanctions against the Palestinian government.

I take it for granted that the EU will do it - this is very much in line with what's been discussed in EU policy circiles for some time. There has been distinct unhappiness over the policy one was more or less forced into after the Hamas election victory earlier this year.

If all of this happens, it will certainly not sort out all of the problems of the area. Very far from it. But it might have the highly important effect of stopping a further deterioation of the situation.

By the standards of these problematic days, that must be called progress.