Thursday, February 4, 2010

Steel Barrier Forces "Reconciliation?"

In June 12th 2007 I watched smoke rise from the home Nabil Shaath-"chief negotiator in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks"- after Hamas operatives has set it ablaze. Now he's back for "reconciliation talks." A truly unusual sight.

The Egyptian newspaper Almasry Alyoum reported February 1st that the Egyptian steel barrier with the Gaza Strip is "has entered the final stage of construction."

ّHamas PM Ismael Haniyeh did not meet with Shaath though, he preferred seeing Muneeb Al-Masry, a West Bank businessman. At a press conference he said, "we are talking about working procedures and agreeable views in order to meet the procedures that we agreed upon in the Egyptian agreement in order to reach true reconciliation and the unity of the Palestinian people."

With the potential for Egypt's steel barrier to have significant consequences on the Gaza Strip's tunnel trade- which provides 35% of the Strip's trade- economic pressure is likely to make the difference in forcing Hamas' hand.

It makes one wonder what is hiding behind the smiles.