Hamas and Fatah sign unity deal

Oct 13, 2017, 00:22
Hamas and Fatah sign unity deal

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas told AFP on Thursday, "I welcome the agreement".

"Any reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas must meet the Quartet's conditions - accepting global agreements, recognizing Israel, and disarming Hamas", Israeli officials said in a statement after the deal was announced. The deal would see both Hamas and Fatah form a Palestinian government to appoint the prime minister and ministerial positions.

"We hope they won't disappoint our people and break the joy", said Rahaab Kanaan, 55.

A statement from Netanyahu's office said that Israel "will examine developments in the field and act accordingly".

Negotiations are now expected to be held on forming a unity government, with the various Palestinian political movements invited to another meeting in Cairo on November 21.

Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have reportedly come to a reconciliation deal which will allow the latter to resume control of the Gaza Strip.

A senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, Zakaria al-Agha, said that Abbas "will be in Gaza within less than a month". Another committee would merge 3,000 Palestinian Authority loyalists into Gaza's Hamas-run police force. Egypt has opened the Rafah crossing only sporadically since 2007.

Abbas has tried numerous times without success to fix the rift, in part to counter Israeli assertions that peace negotiations are pointless because he can't ensure that any treaty will also hold in Gaza.

Fatah, the more moderate of the two groups, previously controlled Gaza but was ousted by Hamas a decade ago, leaving Palestine split in two. Multiple previous reconciliation efforts have failed.

Last month, Hamas agreed to cede civil power in Gaza to the Palestinian Authority but the fate of its vast military wing remains a significant issue for the two sides. Internal Palestinian strife has been a major obstacle to peacemaking, with Hamas having fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and continuing to call for its destruction.

Earlier Thursday, Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh confirmed that the two factions had hammered out a reconciliation agreement following a week of intense discussions in Cairo.

This could be a sticking point for any reconciliation efforts moving forward.

With Hamas in control, conditions in Gaza deteriorated.

The new deal is understood to cover border crossing arrangements, Hamas' arsenal and the livelihoods of thousands of public servants.

The latest reconciliation efforts come as US President Donald Trump has sought to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and met separately with Abbas and Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY last month.

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