Advertisement

Hamas agrees to steps towards Palestinian unity

Hamas agrees to steps towards Palestinian unity
From Al Jazeera - September 17, 2017

Hamas has agreed to talks with the rival Fatah movement and expressed its willingness to hold general elections in the Palestinian territories.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Hamas said it has accepted key conditions set by President Mahmoud Abbas, and dissolved what is known as the Gaza administrative committee.

The committee, which was announced in March, was viewed by the PA as a parallel government to Abbas' Palestinian Authority, though some Hamas officials refuted this.

Hamas said it formed the committee after the consensus government failed to take responsibility for Gaza's administration.

In recent months, the PA stepped up its actions to pressure Hamas into forfeiting control of the territory by cutting the salaries of its employees living in Gaza and reducing electricity supply to the Strip.

The Palestinian Authority, controlled by Fatah, fought a war with Hamas in 2007.

In parliamentary elections a year earlier, Hamas defeated Mahmoud Abbas' long-dominant Fatah party. Hamas then pushed Fatah out of the Strip after the latter refused to recognise the vote's results. Since 2007,the Palestinian leadership has been divided between two rival governments, with Hamas controlling Gaza and Abbas in charge of autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

READ MORE: Hamas ready to reconcile with Fatah: reports

Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed.

In its Sunday statement, Hamas invited an Abbas-led unity government to return to Gaza and said it was ready to enter talks with Fatah.

"Hamas invites the consensus government to come to Gaza to practice its mission and carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip immediately, and it accepts holding the general elections," the statement said.

The unity government was formed in 2014, but has been unable to operate in Gaza until now.

'Encouraging'

A senior Fatah official welcomed the announcement, but said the group wants to see vows implemented before making the next move.

Mahmoud Aloul told the Voice of Palestine radio that the news was "encouraging". However, hecautioned "we want to see that happening on the ground before we move to the next step".

Hamas' decision came after separatetalks by Hamas and Fatah delegations with Egyptian officials in Cairo in recent days.

The movement said it was "responding to the generous Egyptian efforts, which reflect the Egyptian desire to end the split and achieve reconciliation, and based on our desire to achieve national unity".

Egypt has been brokering talks with Fatah to implement a deal signed in 2011 in Cairo with Hamas to end their dispute and form an interim government before elections.

Gaza Report (@gaza_report) September 17, 2017

Pressure on Hamas

Advertisement

Continue reading at Al Jazeera »