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Selasa, 31 Januari 2012

Suara Sri Andalas

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Suara Sri Andalas


Sekitar Program Ponggal di Estet Kinta Valley, Batu Gajah

Posted: 29 Jan 2012 03:00 AM PST

Batu Gajah, 29 Januari 2012 - Ketua Umum PKR, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim telah diarak lebih 100 meter dari jalan besar Batu Gajah-Tanjong Tualang ke tapak pesta menaiki kereta lembu bersama kepimpinan PKR Pusat, Negeri Perak dan kempimpinan Pakatan Rakyat Perak.

Lebih 300 periuk dan peralatan memasak telah digunakan dalam program tersebut. Pertandingan tarik tali juga turut diadakan. 

Turut serta ialah N. Surendran, Naib Presiden PKR, Dr. Mohd Nor Manuty, Pengerusi PKR Perak, Dr. Lee Boon Chye, Ahli Parlimen Gopeng, Dr. Xavier Jayakumar, EXCO Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dan V. Sivakumar, bekas Speaker DUN Perak  serta kepimpinan Pakatan Rakyat yang lain.


The Spirit of Lubok Kawah/Semangat Lubok Kawah

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The Spirit of Lubok Kawah/Semangat Lubok Kawah


Yahudi atau Zionis?

Posted: 31 Jan 2012 04:24 PM PST

Semasa saya bersekolah di London, saya ada beberapa orang rakan-rakan dari kaum Yahudi, mereka itu menyokong gerakan pembebasan Palestin dari cengkaman Zionis Israel.  Didalam satu forum yang dianjurkan oleh MASS Forum di Malaysia Hall, London seorang yang berkulit putih semacam Mat Salleh, berucap berapi-api menghentam Israel dan golongan Zionis dan beliau menuntut supaya Negara Palestin diwujudkan dan Negara Palestin diberikan bantuan antarabangsa untuk membangunkan Negara dan rakyatnya.

Seorang pelajar Malaysia dengan angkuhnya menyatakan bahawa orang-orang Yahudi wajib dihapuskan kerana Yahudi adalah kaum yang mendakwa diri mereka sebagai kaum yang terpilih.

Bangun semula si Mat Salleh tadi mengatakan bahawa beliau dan rakan-rakannya yang bergabung dibawah Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) yang dipimpin oleh George Habash tetap berjuang untuk mengujudkan sebuah Negara Palestin yang Merdeka dan Bebas dan didiami oleh warga negaranya yang terdiri daripada Orang Islam, Orang Christian dan Orang Yahudi.

Beliau menyatakan bahawa bukan semua orang Yahudi yang menyokong Zionisme, bukan semua orang Yahudi yang menentang orang Arab, ramai orang Yahudi mahukan dua Negara iaitu Israel dan Palestin hidup dengan aman, saling hormat menghormati sebagai jiran dan bantu membantu antara satu sama lain.

Beliau adalah seorang Yahudi dari Palestin.

PFLP dibawah pimpinan George Habash merumahkan pejuang-pejuang Palestin yang beragama Kristian dan didalamnya ramai golongan Yahudi yang sanggup mati memperjuangkan hak Palestin, dan PFLP adalah organisasi yang bergabung dibawah PLO iaitu Palestinian Liberation Organization yang dipimpin oleh Al-Fatah, dan diwaktu itu belum wujud HAMAS.

Saya juga menyertai organisasi yang ditubuhkan oleh pelajar-pelajar antarabangsa yang dinamakan sebagai International Anti-Imperialist Organization, dan saya diberikan penghormatan menjadi Setiausaha kepada Organisasi itu yang terdiri daripada pelajar-pelajar dari Asia, Amerika, Eropah, Timur Tengah dan Amerika Latin.

Didalam organisasi itu terdapat mereka daripada pelbagai agama, Islam, Kristian, Budha, Hindu, Yahudi dan yang tidak ada agama, mereka komited menentang gerakan Imperialisme yang diketuai oleh Amerika dan Eropah.

Kami membuat demonstrasi di London menentang Perperangan Vietnam dan Keazliman Israel terhadap Palestin.

Kami juga pernah membuat Sit-In di beberapa kedutaan yang menyokong Amerika dan Israel, dan kami pernah membuat mogok lapar sehingga setiap seorang dari kami diangkat ke Hospital kerana sudah menjadi begitu lemah dan tidak bermaya hasil daripada berlapar berhari-hari, tidak seteguk air pun diminum.

Didalam perjuangan itu, ramai juga pelajar-pelajar Yahudi yang terlibat.

Maka saya berkeyakinan bahawa manusia ini boleh menghormati kemanusiaan tanpa mengira kaum dan agama, itulah dinamakan internasionalisme sejagat.

Dan didalam isu Israel dan Palestin ini, saya tetap menentang Zionisme yang didokong oleh Imperialisme Amerika dan Eropah!

Posted: 31 Jan 2012 07:39 AM PST







Ceramah PKR/PR di Felda Jenderak Utara pada 28.1.12 telah dianggap oleh semua pihak sebagai sangat berjaya.  Yang paling penting mereka yang ramai hadir itu adalah pengundi tempatan, buktinya?  Mereka datang dengan berjalan kaki dan bermotosikal.

Jumlah kehadiran kali ini jauh lebih besar dari kehadiran yang lampau.  Ini petanda baik.

Bukan senang untuk mendapatkan kehadiran yang ramai di rancangan Felda kerana rancangan Felda adalah kubu yang dianggap kuat untuk UMNO; semasa ceramah ini hendak diadakan, kawasan Felda itu sudah dipenuhi dengan bendera UMNO dan BN seolah-olah ceramah itu adalah anjuran UMNO.

Kami ucapkan ribuan terima kasih kepada UMNO Jenderak Utara kerana dengan bendera yang jauh mengatasi bendera PKR dan PAS seolah-olah ceramah di Felda Jenderak Utara itu adalah anjuran UMNO, dan justeru itu cukup ramai ahli-ahli UMNO Felda Jenderak Utara dan Felda Jenderak Selatan yang hadir.

Mereka tetap terpegun disitu walaupun YB Nurul Izzah sudah selesai memberikan ceramahnya.

Dulu mereka sudah mendengar Siti Aishah Sh Ismail, Ketua Srikandi PKR Pusat, kali ini mereka mendengar pula YB Nurul Izzah, Putri Reformasi dan Naib Presiden PKR.

Pada 16hb Februari 2012 jam 8.45 malam PKR Kuala Krau akan dedahkan dengan seorang lagi pemimpin wanita dari KEADILAN iaitu YB Gan Pei Nei, wakil rakyat DUN Rawang, seorang wanita muda dan sebelum ini seorang pemimpin wanita muda dari KEADILAN telah didedahkan iaitu Ginie Lim, AJK AMK PKR Pusat yang hadir bersama-sama YB Elizabeth Wong, Ahli Exco Kerajaan Negeri Selangor.

Ceramah pada 16hb Februari 2012 jam 8.45 malam di Perkarangan Pejabat PKR Kuala Krau akan disampaikan oleh YB Gan Pei Nei, YB Leong Ngah Ngah, YB Rashid wakil rakyat DUN Ampangan, Abd Rahman, Timbalan Pesuruhjaya PAS Negeri Sembilan, Man Kadir @ Pak Jabit dan Haji Suhaimi Said.


R Sivarasa - Ahli Parlimen Subang

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R Sivarasa - Ahli Parlimen Subang


Re: Rumah Panjang Bunga Raya

Posted: 31 Jan 2012 02:40 AM PST

KENYATAAN AKHBAR OLEH YB SIVARASA RASIAH bertarikh 31 hb Januari 2012.




"UMNO/BN yang sebenarnya yang melakukan penindasan terhadap penduduk Rumah Panjang Bunga Raya tempoh 1993 -2008."





Dengan mengapikan isu rumah kos rendah untuk penduduk rumah panjang Bunga Raya di Subang, UMNO/BN sekali lagi mengambil kesempatan mencuba memperbodohkan rakyat dan mempermainkan emosi rakyat. Saya yakin penuh penduduk Subang tidak akan termakan oleh propaganda mereka.



Penduduk Subang tahu dan faham masalah penduduk rumah panjang Bunga Raya adalah masalah tinggalan dari zaman UMNO/BN memerintah negeri Selangor.



Pada tahun 1993, penduduk Kg Bunga Raya telah dipindahkan ke rumah panjang mereka di sana kerana tapak rumah asal mereka akan dibangunkan oleh Syarikat Sinar Fadzilat Sdn Bhd. UMNO/BN telah menjanjikan untuk membina rumah kos rendah di tapak bersebelahan dengan rumah panjang.



Malangnya selepas dua tahun, ini tidak berlaku dan sebaliknya tapak tersebut didirikan banglo-banglo mewah yang dimiliki antaranya oleh pemimpin-pemimpin BN tempatan.

Penduduk rumah panjang terpaksa terus tinggal dalam rumah sementara mereka yang semakin tahun menjadi semakin daif. Sepuluh tahun kemudian pada 2003, BN sekali lagi menjanjikan mereka pangsapuri kos rendah di Jalan Pluto yang akan dimajukan oleh pemaju kedua Unique Creation S/B.



Perjanjian jual-beli ditandatangani pada tahun 2003 dan projek dijangka siap dalam tahun 2004. Malangnya projek tersebut dibenarkan oleh UMNO/BN menjadi projek terbengkalai serupa dengan 140 projek terbengkalai lain di Selangor. Ratusan pembeli rumah kos rendah termasuk penduduk rumah panjang di Bunga Raya terpaksa terus menderita tanpa menerima rumah kos rendah mereka. Pemimpin UMNO/BN tempatan terus menetap dalam rumah banglo mewah mereka.



Penduduk-penduduk rumah panjang juga telah mendakwa bahawa RM 4500 wang pampasan yang patut dibayar kepada setiap keluarga oleh pemaju lama telah diambil oleh Pengerusi MIC Subang En N R Krishnan melalui bekas ADUN UMNO Mokhtar Dahlan. Saya difahamkan En Krishnan sekarang tinggal di sebuah banglo mewah di kawasan bersebelah Kg Bunga Raya.



Selepas 2004 penduduk-penduduk Rumah Panjang Bunga Raya dilupakan begitu sahaja oleh UMNO/BN seolah-olah mereka tidak wujud. Rumah panjang tersebut didirikan pada tahun 1993 dengan tujuan digunakan hanya untuk tempoh dua tahun namun penduduk terpaksa terus menetap disitu dalam keadaan daif sehingga hari ini.



Kesemua ini berlaku dalam zaman kegelapan UMNO/BN memerintah di Selangor. Walaupun hanya setahun mengambil alih pentadbiran di Selangor, Pakatan Rakyat mula mencari penyelesaian pada tahun 2009. Pemulihan projek perumahan terbengkalai khususnya yang melibatkan rumah kos rendah yang terhutang berjuta ringgit bukan satu perkara mudah. Namun, usaha memulihkan projek terbengkalai di Jalan Pluto oleh pemaju baru ECL Sdn Bhd yang melibatkan hampir 500 pembeli termasuk 57 keluarga daripada rumah panjang Bunga Raya telah dimulakan.



Isu-isu saperti tunggakan cukai tanah dan cukai taksiran berjumlah berjuta-juta ringgit oleh pemaju lama telah menyebabkan sedikit penangguhan masa untuk mengatasi masalah ini.



Saya bersama dengan YB Dr Nasir, ADUN Kota Damansara akan terus berbincang dengan EXCO Kerajaan Selangor YB Ir Iskandar Samad dan Menteri Besar Selangor untuk mempercepatkan penyelesaian masalah ini.



Jelas UMNO/BN kini amat gelisah kerana pemulihan projek terbengkalai di Jalan Pluto adalah dalam proces pelaksanaan oleh pihak ECL Sdn Bhd. Tiga blok rumah pangsapuri kos rendah dengan jumlah 480 unit akan disiapkan oleh mereka. Sekarang blok pertama telah dimulakan dan sudah hampir 70% siap. Masalah penduduk-penduduk Rumah Panjang Bunga Raya dan pembeli-pembeli lain akan diselesaikan dalam jangka masa yang diperlukan.



Selama 15 tahun ( 1993 - 2008 ) penghuni Rumah Panjang Bunga Raya telah dilupakan oleh pemerintahan UMNO/BN. Tapak tanah rumah kos rendah mereka yang asal telah diambil oleh pemimpin UMNO/BN dan didirikan rumah banglo. UMNO/BN sendirilah yang menindas penduduk Bunga Raya!



Tetap tiba-tiba pada hari Ahad 28hb Januari 2012, setiausaha politik Perdana Menteri Datuk Shafie Abdullah telah turun ke Bunga Raya dan membuat janji kepada penduduk bahawa BN akan menyiapkan rumah mereka selepas PRU 13 sekira mereka memerintah semula kerajaan Selangor.



Janji ini yang dibuat bagi pihak Perdana Menteri memang satu janji yang palsu dan tidak ikhlas! Kenapa tidak ikhlas? - sebab, untuk tempoh 15 tahun daripada tahun 1993 ke 2008 semasa memerintah Selangor dan Malaysia, UMNO/BN langsung tidak pernah peduli kepentingan penduduk rumah panjang Bunga Raya dan cuba selesaikan masalah perumahan mereka. Malah pemimpin BN sendiri telah ambil tanah asal yang diperuntukkan sebagai tapak rumah kos rendah dan menghancurkan segala harapan penduduk yang miskin untuk menerima rumah mereka.



Sebaliknya, Datuk Shafie Abdullah sepatutnya minta maaf kepada penduduk Bunga Raya dan ratusan pembeli rumah kos rendah atas penindasan yang telah dilakukan terhadap mereka oleh UMNO/BN.





YB Sivarasa Rasiah

Ahli Parlimen Subang



Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


Israel Dominates the Debate in Malaysia – Again

Posted: 31 Jan 2012 12:57 AM PST

From Wall Street Journal

Recent comments by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim have demonstrated yet again how issues related to Israel continue to divide this majority-Muslim country – and could influence the country's next national election.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Anwar responded to the question of whether he would open diplomatic ties with Israel by stating his "support" for "efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel," while at the same time backing the "legitimate rights of the Palestinians." He stopped short of saying he would establish diplomatic relations between the two states – what he describes as a "tricky" issue – and stated that any change to the status quo would remain contingent on Israel recognizing the aspirations of the Palestinians.

Malaysia is one of three Southeast Asian nations including Indonesia and Brunei that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, though limited economic ties exist between private companies in both countries.

"Some refuse to recognize the state of Israel," he said, "but I think our policy should be clear – protect the security [of Israel] but you must be as firm in protecting the legitimate interests of the Palestinians."

The comments triggered a storm of debate and criticism, with members of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and other groups accusing the leader of abandoning the Palestinian cause – an emotive cause long-supported in the majority-Muslim Southeast Asian nation.

Lawmakers called on Mr. Anwar's opposition coalition to release an official statement on the issue, while president of the right-wing Malay group Perkasa Ibrahim Ali said he would raise the issue in Parliament.

Mr. Anwar responded by saying he supported a "two-state solution" with Palestine, a policy he said was no different from the official stance adopted by the United Nations and Malaysia itself.

"I am issuing a stern warning to anyone trying to twist my statement just so that they can say that I have betrayed the aspirations of the Palestinian people," he said in a statement to the press. His party's stand "is to defend the rights of whoever it is that has been victimised," the statement said.

Though an ethnically-diverse nation that practices freedom of religion, Malaysia has declared Islam as its state religion and tensions over Israel-Palestine issues often boil over. A large percentage of the country's population supports the Palestinian cause, and jumped to criticize Israel after it launched raids on Gaza in December 2008 and stormed a flotilla in May 2010 that was carrying activists and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Tensions over the issue are even more on edge now, as Malaysia gears up for its next general election, which must be called by early next year, giving politicians more incentive to argue their views in the press than usual.

"The issue is tied in with Malaysia being an Islamic country," and the idea that "therefore it should support Palestine," said James Chin, a professor at the Malaysian branch of Australia's Monash University. He added the caveat that support for the Palestinians became a much larger issue in Malaysian politics after the era of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been accused by world leaders of holding anti-Semitic views, which he disputes.

In a statement to the local press, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, a member of the ruling UMNO, disputed Mr. Anwar's claim that Malaysia's current policy on Israel is the same as his own. Although Malaysia officially supports a "two-state solution" in settling the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it has also sharply criticized actions taken by Israeli forces in the past, which the foreign minister indicated means Malaysia isn't supporting "all steps" to protect Israeli security.

"[Anwar's comments] show a blanket support for anything Israel does," said Khairy Jamaluddin, the chief of UMNO's youth wing, who disputed any suggestion Malaysia's ruling party was trying to politicize the issue ahead of an election. "The issue of Palestine is a top foreign policy priority for my party, it would be an issue during the election year or otherwise… timing doesn't matter."

In 2010, Mr. Anwar – who in the past has been described as the face of liberal democracy in Malaysia – found himself on the other side of the argument after he lambasted UMNO for its relationship with a public relations firm called APCO. In Parliament, he said the firm was "controlled by Zionists" and working on behalf of the American government to influence Malaysian government policy – a charge denied by both the government and the public relations firm.

At the time, American-Jewish groups such as B'nai B'rith accused the opposition leader of "anti-Jewish" and "anti-Israel" slanders, and called on American officials to suspend their ties with Mr. Anwar.

Still, many analysts believe the latest kerfuffle is largely electioneering on the part of the ruling coalition, preoccupied with the looming possibility that the next election will be the hardest-fought yet.

"They're just using it as a weapon to bring (Mr. Anwar) down," said Mr. Chin at Monash University.

– Celine Fernandez contributed to this article

Hamas Leader Calls for Two-State Solution, But Refuses to Renounce Violence

Posted: 30 Jan 2012 06:51 PM PST

From NPR.COM

Hamas Foreign Minister We Accept Two-State Solution With ’67 Borders The Two-Way NPR

Hamas' Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad.

Hamas’ Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad.

Hamas’ Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad told NPR’s Robert Siegel that the Islamic political party has accepted a two-state solution that respects the 1967 borders.

Robert asked Hamad in a very straight forward way: “If Israel were to accept a two-state solution in which Palestine would be in Gaza and the West Bank and have its capital in Jerusalem, is that an acceptable aim that Hamas is striving for or is that in and of itself insufficient because there would still be a state of Israel?”

“Look, we said, frankly, we accept the state and ’67 borders. This was mentioned many times and we repeated many times,” said Hamad. Here’s his full answer:

Ghazi Hamad on All Things Considered

Hamas, which has been known for its rocket attacks and suicide bombings, just signed a reconciliation with its secular rival Fatah. In 2007, Hamas expelled Fatah from Gaza and the Palestinians ended up with a divided government. According to analysts, the reconciliation between the two groups means Hamas is trying to moderate its views to appeal to the West.

Hamad told Robert that people should not judge Hamas on what it used to be before:

Ghazi Amad on All Things Considered

“I think Hamas shows a lot of flexibility. We became more pragmatic, more realistic. Hamas is ready to go more and more for political solutions. Hamas could be a good player in making peace in this region, but don’t use sticks against him, and punishment against Hamas,” Hamad said, referring to the sanctions imposed after Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament in 2006.

In an analysis piece by the Associated Press, they point out that Hamas’ more moderate stance may be genuine:

Both Hamas officials and outside analysts say the group has learned some bitter lessons during its four years in power in Gaza. The impression is that Israel’s blockade, which caused widespread hardship in the crowded territory, a blistering Israeli military offensive two years ago and the uprisings throughout the Arab world have all factored into its thinking.

Hani Masri, a Palestinian commentator who sometimes mediates between Hamas and its secular rival, Fatah, said Hamas realized that to lead the Palestinians, it needs “acceptance by the international community, particularly the West.”

In his interview with Robert, Hamad did criticize Israel. He said the ball is now in its court and it needs to decide whether it’s willing to accept a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem and whether it’s willing to “evict” its settlers in Palestinian territory.

“We are just fighting against occupation,” Hamad said. “We are figting to liberate our homeland. This our ambition.”

Hamad also said Hamas was “not in the pocket” of Iran or Syria. Hamad made much the same comments on the BBC’s Hardtalk. But PressTV, the Iranian government’s English-language news service, reports that Hamad told them Hamas would “never recognize Israel.”

For it’s part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that Israel wants nothing to do with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

“A leopard has sunk its teeth in our flesh, in the flesh of our children, wives, our elderly, and we will not be tempted to believe that this leopard has now changed its spots,” Netanyahu told the AP. “We will not ignore its voracious growls. We will strike it down.”

Note we’ve added the interview as it aired on All Things Considered at the top of this post.

=====

From New York Times

One day after celebrating a landmark reconciliation accordfor Palestinian unity, Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader, said on Thursday that he was fully committed to working for a two-state solution but declined to swear off violence or agree that a Palestinian state would produce an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Related

Palestinian Factions Sign Accord to End Rift (May 5, 2011)
"The whole world knows what Hamas thinks and what our principles are," Mr. Meshal said in an interview in his Cairo hotel suite. "But we are talking now about a common national agenda. The world should deal with what we are working toward now, the national political program."

He defined that as "a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, without any settlements or settlers, not an inch of land swaps and respecting the right of return" of Palestinian refugees to Israel itself.

Asked if a deal honoring those principles would produce an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mr. Meshal said, "I don't want to talk about that."

He added: "When Israel made agreements with Egypt and Jordan, no one conditioned it on how Israel should think. The Arabs and the West didn't ask Israel what it was thinking deep inside. All Palestinians know that 60 years ago they were living on historic Palestine from the river to the sea. It is no secret."

Asked whether in his pact with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Fatah-dominatedPalestinian Authority, he agreed to end violent resistance, he replied: "Where there is occupation and settlement, there is a right to resistance. Israel is the aggressor. But resistance is a means, not an end."

He added that over the coming months, as Hamas and Fatah work out their differences, "we are ready to reach an agreement on how to manage resistance." He noted that Hamas had entered into cease-fires with Israel in the past and that it was ready to do so in the future. There is one in effect right now. But his broad principle, he said, was this: "If occupation ends, resistance ends. If Israel stops firing, we stop firing."

Asked if he thought nonviolent resistance was a useful approach for the Palestinians, he replied, "Unfortunately, nonviolence doesn't work against the Israelis."

Israel has blasted the Fatah-Hamas agreement as, in effect, bringing terrorists into the Palestinian government. The United States has said it is waiting to see what the pact consists of before reacting. Washington provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the Palestinian Authority.

"We are going to be carefully assessing what this action really means," Secretary of StateHillary Rodham Clinton said of the pact in Rome. She said that Washington could not accept a Palestinian government including Hamas unless it renounced violence, agreed to live by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements and recognized Israel. These are the so-called "quartet principles," agreed on by the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia.

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain made a similar point during a visit to London by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Any new Palestinian government "must reject violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and engage in the peace process," a spokesman for Mr. Cameron quoted him as saying.

Mr. Abbas, who has largely given up on peace negotiations with Israel under Mr. Netanyahu, concluded that the best way forward was national unity and an appeal to the international community to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

His Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority holds sway in the West Bank, but Hamas runs Gaza. The two groups fought a brief civil war in 2007 and have been divided ever since. The agreement they signed this week calls for a new government of technocrats to plan for elections in the coming year as well as committees to coordinate security cooperation and questions like prisoner releases.

But the bitterness runs deep and many challenges remain. Mr. Meshal noted in the 30-minute interview that at the unity ceremony in Cairo on Wednesday, there had been a delay because Mr. Abbas had not initially agreed that Mr. Meshal could speak from the podium.

"I don't want to go into the details of it, but there was an unfortunate wrong and we overcame it," he said of the ceremony arrangements. "This is not the superficial issue of who is sitting on the stage. The crucial issue is that there has been a division between the two main parties in the Palestinian arena. Reconciliation should be seen in the arrangement and in who is speaking."

Asked what had changed in recent months that allowed the long-delayed pact to go through, he said that both Fatah and the new Egyptian government had agreed, for the first time, to Hamas's adding annexes to the agreement reflecting its views. He declined to elaborate on the contents of those additional items.

Mr. Meshal said that there was recent activity on ways to release Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held for nearly five years by Hamas, but that there had been no breakthrough. He blamed Mr. Netanyahu, saying he was responsible for the delay.

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