Palestinian PM Arrives in Gaza in First Step in Reconciliation
Oct 03, 2017, 01:32
"An Egyptian delegation, including Egypt's ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat, and two other high ranking Egyptian intelligence officers, arrived in Gaza" from Israel, Mohammed al-Maqdama from the PA office that coordinates with the Israeli authorities told AFP.
The Palestinian prime minister arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday for the first time in years as part of a new attempt to reconcile with the militant group Hamas after a decade-long split.
Hamas says it will hand over administrative control of the Gaza Strip to the West Bank-based unity government headed by Rami al-Hamdallah.
Hamas' control over security and its nature as an armed resistance movement have also constituted an obstacle for the PA, which cooperates with Israel on security-related matters, as per the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993 and 1995 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel. He said the government had already formed committees for taking up its mission and responsibilities in Gaza.
The coup left Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement in control only of self-rule enclaves in the West Bank.
In the past, Israel has fought against any role in the Palestinian government for Hamas, which achieved global notoriety in the 1990s by launching suicide bomb attacks in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the US and the E.U. Steps taken include temporarily halting the monthly transfer of some $100 million in tax revenue Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
In this respect, the prospective "Hizbullization" of Hamas in Gaza is a major concern, as the Shiite Iranian proxy maintains a death grip on Lebanon, largely due to its military superiority, in contravention of UN Resolution 1701 which set the terms for the end of the 2006 war with Israel, including Hizbullah's total disarmament.
Narrowing internal divisions could help western-backed Abbas counter Israel's argument that it has no negotiating partner for peace with the Palestinians, analysts said.
TRT World speaks to journalist Maha Elbanna in Gaza for the latest.
A crowd of hundreds welcomed Riad Hamdallah after he passed through the Erez border crossing from Israel on foot to enter Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas.
"It is a celebration, a national holiday", said Abdel-Majid Ali, 46.
"We hope this time reconciliation is for real".
"The road ahead will be long and hard, but momentum of reconciliation and peace should not be missed", Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process wrote on Twitter.
The delegation is scheduled to also visit a house in Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City destroyed during Israel's 2014 war on the Gaza Strip before holding meetings with the various political factions in Gaza.
On Tuesday, the Palestinian unity cabinet will meet in Gaza.
"We need to. push the wheel of reconciliation forward, to create a positive atmosphere".
People gather as the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah arrives to take control of Gaza from Hamas, in the northern Gaza Strip. The PA does not believe in the legitimacy of Hamas' arms. "If it does then it's a non-starter for Israel", he said.
Gaza has suffered acute shortages of electricity and medical supplies this year as a result of punitive measures imposed by Abbas in an effort to ratchet up pressure on Hamas.
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