Global News

Hamas Agrees To Demands To End Decade-Long Palestinian Rift

Hamas Agrees To Demands To End Decade-Long Palestinian Rift

This includes holding general elections in the West Bank and Gaza, dissolving a contentious Gaza administrative committee and allowing an Abbas-led "unity government", formed in 2014 but until now unable to start operating in Gaza, to finally assume responsibility there.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Western-backed Palestine Authority, controlled by Fatah, fought a war with Hamas over Gaza in 2007, which led to Hamas taking over. There also was no comment from Abbas' government.

In July this year it emerged Gaza's Hamas movement was seeking a rapprochement with the Palestinian leader once regarded as its greatest enemy, as the Islamist group faces unprecedented challenges from all sides.

The group said in an emailed statement that it had agreed to dismantle the administrative committee that runs Gaza and hold nationwide elections.

It also expressed its willingness to accept Egypt's offer for talks with Fatah in order to implement the Cairo Agreement, signed in 2011, that lays down guidelines for reconciliation.

Hamas has been weakened by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, three wars with Israel and global isolation.

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Most recently, Abbas had increased pressure on Hamas by asking Israel to reduce power deliveries to the Gaza Strip.

The negotiations were "an expression of Egyptian interest in Palestinian reconciliation and ending the division, and our interest to realize the hopes of the Palestinian people by achieving national unity", Hamas said.

Punishing measures included reducing electricity payments for the Gaza strip and cutting salaries for civil servants there.

The electricity crisis, aimed at forcing Hamas to return the territory to the Palestinian Authority's control, comes on top of Gaza's many other woes.

Ismail Haniya, who heads Hamas, travelled to Cairo last week for reconciliation discussions, and Abbas sent a delegation of representatives to Egypt as well. The deal was not clear whether Hamas is ready to place its security forces under Abbas' control — a key sticking point that has scuttled past reconciliation attempts.

Since 2007, Israel has maintained a full blockade on Gaza.


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