Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Palestinian Authority is set to use the permanent ceasefire deal with Israel recently reached in Cairo to secure a comprehensive deal leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, a senior Fatah official told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday.
“Now that the war has ended, the Palestinian leadership is seeking to reach a final and comprehensive agreement to end [Israeli] occupation,” said Faisal Abu Shahla, one of the Palestinian negotiators in Cairo.
A comprehensive peace deal with Israel, Shahla said, will be among “the guarantees” for Palestinians to commit to the ceasefire deal.
He said: “We know there are no guarantees of protecting our people apart from the establishment of a Palestinian state and ending the occupation, not just achieving interim settlements.”
The Egyptian-brokered deal struck this week ended 50 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. Many also argue that the latest war on Gaza, which has killed over 2,000 Palestinians and leveled entire residential blocks, has helped unify Palestinian ranks, a major development seen as key to the realization of a Palestinian state.
Indirect talks between Israel and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo are set to continue within a month, according to Egypt
In preparation for the talks in Cairo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of Hamas’s politburo Khaled Mishal, are understood to have drawn up a two-stage plan: first, lifting the Israeli blockade of Gaza and securing guarantees for the reconstruction of Gaza’s infrastructure; and second, pushing towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Abu Shahla said the Palestinians were more unified now than before and have agreed that “decisions of war, peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state will be taken unanimously, rather than by one faction.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Palestinian leadership expressed its hopes that the “lessons and outcomes of the Israeli aggression would represent an incentive to consolidate the unity of the stance and decision-making of the Palestinians and to adhere to working under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the legal and only representative of our people.”
The statement went on to emphasize “the necessity to work on implementing a national Palestinian plan that leads to ending the occupation, and the commitment of the international community and UN Security Council to their duties in this regard and according to a certain timetable.”
A Palestinian official, who requested anonymity because he was not permitted to brief the media, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the permanent ceasefire deal came as an agreement between the PLO and Israel, “which reminds us of previous agreements between the two.”
He said: “This is not an agreement between Israel and one [Palestinian] faction. We have seen the result of agreements with a specific faction . . . the unity of Palestinians under the umbrella of the PLO is the true guarantor for avoiding a new war.”