Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have proclaimed a reconciliation pact aimed at ending a bitter four year rivalry. The pact was mediated by Egypt and announced at Egyptian intelligence headquarters in Cairo on Wednesday. The agreement calls for the creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government ahead of national elections next year, an attempt to unify Palestinian leadership after Hamas violently took control of Gaza from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' security forces in June 2007. Abbas said the agreement ended “four black years,” and that he would soon visit the Hamas-held Gaza strip. The pact leaves important issues untouched, however. It makes no mention of Israel, who denounced the agreement and said it would not negotiate with Hamas, the Syrian- and Iranian-backed group that it, the U.S., and the E.U., consider a terrorist organization. Abbas condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rejection of the government, calling the agreement an internal Palestinian affair, and warning, "Mr. Netanyahu, you must chose between settlements and peace."
Together Again AP Photo