Hamas, Fatah reach Palestinian reconciliation deal

Haniyeh Hamdallah

The two major Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas today will announce the final reconciliation agreement in a press release in the Egyptian capital of Cairo at 1:00 PM today.

Forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas lost control of Gaza in fighting with Hamas in 2007, leading to a crippling territorial and political split among Palestinians.

Egypt has helped the two movements to form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank.

Officials said that apart from the implementation of the 2011 agreement and security, the Cairo talks would also cover issues such as setting a date for presidential and legislative elections and reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is in charge of long-stalled peace efforts with Israel.

He added that all Palestinian factions would begin wider negotiations on the formation of a national unity government in the coming two weeks.

Last month, Hamas agreed to dissolve the committee that rules Gaza.

"The talks are positive and the Egyptian side is even-handed", he said, according to the Palestinian Information Centre.

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Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. The loss damaged Abbas' credibility in the eyes of the West and Israel, after years of being their main Palestinian diplomatic counterpart.

Hamas Politburo member Ezzat al-Rishq, who is part of his party's delegation in the Egyptian capital, wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday morning that Hamas "is pursuing, with desire and determination, a real national reconciliation with our brothers and partners in the homeland".

Previous attempts at reconciliation have repeatedly failed, and many analysts are treating the latest bid with caution, waiting to see if actual change will occur on the ground in Gaza.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah then made a rare trip to Gaza.

Sticking points include control over the arsenal of Hamas' armed wing and the fate of thousands of Hamas public servants.

Reconciliation could also pose a dilemma for global efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal since Hamas has not recognised Israel, unlike the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation.

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