MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
Representatives of the major Palestinian factions are in Cairo trying to revive prospects for a national unity government. The Fatah movement controls the West Bank while Hamas is in charge of the Gaza Strip. Arab leaders say Palestinian unity is essential for making real progress in talks with Israel, but as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Cairo, reconciling the Palestinian factions may prove as elusive as a Palestinian state.
PETER KENYON: He says Hamas is evolving, with the leadership in Gaza moving toward what he calls a more practical and realistic approach to dealing with Israel, while Mashaal and other Hamas exiles in Syria maintain an uncompromising stance. Gad says this process is still playing out, and there will be setbacks.
EMAD GAD: Syria and Iran will not allow for Hamas to convert to a realistic movement because where is political (unintelligible) Hamas? In Damascus. From where does the money come? From Tehran. So it's very difficult now, and Khaled Mashaal will resist minimizing his influence.
KENYON: Analysts say Palestinian disunity is in some ways a microcosm of the fissures in the rest of the Arab world, but Mustafa al-Ani at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai hasn't given up hope.
MUSTAFA AL: I think Arab unity is still alive. Suffering, yes, as usual. The principle in the Arab unity wants to save the Palestinians, and this is a common ground which every Arab agrees on. The question how to achieve that, how to handle the crisis, this is where the disputes emerge.
KENYON: Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Cairo.
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