Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Hamas announces reconciliation pact with Fatah

Haniyeh Hamdallah Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City
Lillian Steele | 13 October, 2017, 00:45

A Hamas official told Reuters that details are expected to be released at a noon news conference in Cairo, where unity talks between the rival factions began on Tuesday.

Hamas and Fatah have reached a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, Reuters reports citing the Palestinian Information Centre.

The leader of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh has announced that his organization reached a reconciliation agreement with Fatah - the party of President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) - after Egyptian-mediated meetings in Cairo.

Palestinian media reported that the two sides agreed to form a committee to solve, within four months, one very local problem that has dogged previous attempts at reconciliation: what to do about Hamas bureaucrats who will be out of a job when the Palestinian Authority resumes its rule in Gaza.

Hamas's capture of Gaza in 2007 ended an earlier - if short-lived - unity government established after Hamas swept 2006 Palestinian legislative polls.

It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has seen deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

Also under the deal, Gaza's border crossings with Israel and Egypt will be handed back to the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks, with a November 1 deadline, according to Ahmad.

The crossing has remained largely closed in recent years.

Struggling with the fallout from the border blockade, Hamas has found it increasingly hard to govern or provide basic services, such as electricity. He said Abbas' presidential guard would assume control of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, but did not specify a timetable.

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets across Gaza on Thursday in celebration of the unity pact, with loudspeakers on open cars blasting national songs, youths dancing and hugging, and many waving Palestine and Egyptian flags.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Sissi in NY last month, denounced the reconciliation efforts, saying any future Palestinian government must disband the Hamas terror group's armed wing and sever its ties with Iran.

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