Given that pundits opine neither Hamas nor Israel wants to fight another war at this time; and that both the Israelis and Iranian-backed Islamists in the Gaza Strip want a ceasefire, it would seem that the Egyptian brokers should have closed the deal by now. But the internecine bickering between the two Palestinian factions continues to prevent a palpable and enforceable deal from being reached. Underscoring the acute dysfunction is a history of at least 4 separate reconciliation agreements that have been signed by Hamas and Fatah leaders, none of which has seen any tangible results on the ground. While the internal fighting continues, the violence along the Gaza-Israel border also continues to escalate in both frequency and in its death toll which now nears 200 after 7 Palestinians were killed this weekend, the rise in fatalities linked to the hurling of grenades rather than rocks at Israeli troops preventing infiltration into its territory. Most Palestinian sources see Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as the force preventing a deal. The octogenarian leader is adamant in demanding that Hamas disarm and respect the Preventive Security Service of the Palestinian Authority as the only armed force; and restore Fatah members to public service jobs they were forced from in Gaza. On Saturday, a delegation from Hamas traveled to Egypt in an attempt to prevent the process from breaking down altogether. Analysts on both sides believe that unless a ceasefire deal is agreed to soon, a major conflagration is inevitable.
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