Egypt welcomes Hamas-Fatah political reconciliation

Randolph Lopez
Сентября 18, 2017

Led by Yahya Sinwar, Hamas last night agreed to conditions by rival President Abbas, including nationwide elections which could finally end a decade old territorial split.

The Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas announced Sunday it accepted the demands of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party to form a unity government. Hamas and Fatah then fought a civil war in Gaza in 2007.

Hamas, which the West considers a terrorist organization, controls Gaza, and Fatah - West Bank of the Jordan river and the government of the Palestinian territories.

Repeated attempts at reconciliation between the two factions have failed in the past. Abbas has also cut the salaries of thousands of former PA employees, many his supporters, who he had instructed not to work for the Hamas government.

"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 by Hamas said.

Mahmoud Aloul, another Fatah official, told the Voice of Palestine radio that the news from Cairo is encouraging, but that the group wants to see what is "happening on the ground before we move to the next step".

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Hamas's position has been weakened by developments in the region, including Saudi-led moves against Qatar, once a major financial contributor to Gaza.

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, welcomed the statement by Hamas, and commended the Egyptian authorities for their "tireless efforts in creating this positive momentum". There was no immediate comment from Abbas's government, and a senior Palestinian official was guarded in his optimism.

Israel's increasing restrictions on exit permits for Gaza residents, an escalating sewage crisis that is contaminating the strip's beaches, and high levels of unemployment, are all contributing to a mounting sense of exhaustion in the strip.

Representatives for Abbas, who is in NY ahead of the U.N. General Assembly this week, could not be reached for comment, nor could Fatah representatives presently in Egypt, which has been hosting talks with Hamas.

Egypt has also become more involved in Gaza in recent months as it tries to contain militant attacks centered in the Sinai peninsula, which borders the Palestinian territory and southern Israel.

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