At least Fatah, which controls Palestinian civil society on the West Bank of the Jordan River, understands that it must resolve its standoff with the radical group Hamas before it can hope to negotiate a reasonable peace with Israel. At least, that's what a top Fatah official said Tuesday after the fourth round of negotiations in Cairo failed to reach an agreement between the rivals. Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official who took part in the negotiations with Fatah, said a deal between the groups was a priority because it is a prerequisite for a regional peace deal with Israel, according to the New York Times. “The next round will determine everything,” Ahmed said. “Egypt will not allow a failure." The Times said Egypt has set a May 15 deadline for an agreement, according to Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy political chief of Hamas leader. “We cannot just talk for the sake of talking,” said Abu Marzouk said. “To continue without results is a disaster on the national level.” Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, which Israel abandoned to Palestinian authority in 2005. Such an agreement would be a daunting accomplishment. The two sides, which fought a bitter war nearly two years ago, have been unable to resolve any of the major issues separating them, including terms for setting up a unity government, holding new legislative and presidential elections, and unifying competing security forces, the Times said. Such a deal is urgent for the Palestinians because the international community refuses to openly provide reconstruction funds to Hamas, which Israel, the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist group. The aid is sorely needed in the Gaza Strip following the 22-day Israeli offensive that ended in January.