Egypt looking for last-ditch Palestinian deal

Egypt looking for last-ditch Palestinian deal

Egyptian diplomats have sent a document to Palestinian leaders outlining a new proposal over political prisoners and a possible new path toward what is being called reconciliation elections. The proposal, the Egyptian government is hoping, is a new proposal will end over two years of nearly constant Palestinian infighting.

According to reports, the new plan does not call for a unity government, which has largely failed to manifest via Egyptian diplomatic efforts over the past year, but calls for a multi-faction coordinating committee that would prepare for Palestinian elections in 2010.

Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas’ office said on Wednesday that he has received the document and will respond within two days. Hamas has not made any statements regarding the Egyptian plan.

It consists of four respective ideas. Elections, security, political prisoners and an implementation process. Elections for a new Palestinian president, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and National Council (PNC) would be conducted in the first half of 2010 and be based on the “full proportional representation” of the Palestinian people.

Maan news agency said that “Abbas will issue a presidential decree forming a High Security Committee. There will be an agreement to appoint professional officers to the committee, who will be under the supervision of Egypt. The committee will be responsible for reforming the security forces on the basis of professionalism, all with Egypt’s supervision,” as part of a security proposal.

As for political prisoners, Egypt has said that upon the proposal’s signing, a list of political prisoners will be set, in consultation with local and international human rights groups and legal organizations for possible release. The two parties will also be a part of drafting the lists and will have the right to remove prisoners from the lists slated for release.