Hamas and Fatah form unity government, promise elections (+ analysis); Israel under pressure to partition land, but warns peace talks at risk; IMF warns Asia against over-heating; Syrian officials resign in protest as UN argues; Petrseus to run CIA; and more
Top of the Agenda: Fatah and Hamas Reconcile
Fatah and Hamas, the two primary Palestinians factions, announced they were putting aside years of dissension to form an interim unity government (NYT) and hold elections within a year. Analysts claim the reconciliation comes as a surprise and portends a shifting diplomatic landscape in the region. Officials say the historic deal was devised in secret meetings held in Egypt where all points of prior disagreements were worked out. Speaking to al-Jazeera, a top Hamas leader described the accord as an "impressive jump" to Palestinian unity.
Israeli authorities warned that the deal threatens future peace talks since Israel (BBC) would not negotiate with a unity government that includes Hamas, considered to be a terrorist group. The United States responded by asserting that any unity government must recognize the state of Israel and renounce violence.
Fatah and Hamas (FT) have been engaged in a bitter dispute since Hamas won elections in 2006. Since then, Hamas has ruled Gaza while Fatah has ruled over the West Bank. Some experts suggest the regional unrest and a fear of declining relevance (CNN) may have sparked the two opposing factions to seek a rapid reconciliation.
In this op-ed for Haaretz, Ari Shavit writes that in a "world gone mad" Netanyahu must present a real plan in Washington for partitioning the land.
In this article for the National Interest, Paul Pillar writes on how the continued demand in the Arab and Muslim world for greater political rights is leading to ever more rhetorical scrambling by Israel.
In this op-ed for the Daily Beast, CFR's Leslie H. Gelb discusses the potential consequences of an upcoming UN vote on Palestinian statehood.
In this article from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Michele Dunne explains why a two-state solution requires reconciliation between Palestinian political groups and reunification of the West Bank and Gaza.
PACIFIC RIM: IMF Warns of Asia Over-Heating
The IMF warned that capital flows into Asia's growing economies (AFP) remain a central issue for policymakers in a region already fighting rising inflation. The region is expected to lead the global economic recovery, with growth estimates at nearly seven percent this year and in 2012.
Japan: Tokyo announced that Japanese factory output (FT) dipped just over 15 percent from February to March, the worst decline since such records began and worse than official expectations.
On her blog Asia Unbound, CFR's Sheila Smith discusses how the Japanese-US alliance agenda may alter with the need to cope with a rising China.