Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reach agreement in Cairo

Marie Harrington
October 13, 2017

Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas, said that a deal had been struck after two days of talks brokered by Egypt.

The move should ensure a unity government will once again administer both the West Bank and Gaza after the rift caused by militant group Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Palestinian negotiators from rival Hamas and Fatah factions have signed a reconciliation deal at a short ceremony in Cairo.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has congratulated by phone Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, on the intra-Palestinian agreement, signed earlier Thursday in Cairo.

Also under the deal, Gaza's border crossings with Israel and Egypt will be handed back to the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks, with a November 1 deadline, according to Ahmad.

"What has been announced is the essence of what has been agreed upon and not everything that has been reached", Member of Fatah Central Committee Azzam al-Ahmad said in a press conference in Cairo.

Since then, the relations between the two rival factions have been very tense and all attempts to reconcile them over the past years have failed to bring fruit.

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The crossing has remained largely closed in recent years.

Last week, Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah visited Gaza for the first time since 2015 and his ministers took formal control of government departments in the territory.

Sticking points include control over the arsenal of Hamas' armed wing and the fate of thousands of Hamas public servants.

Faced with increasing isolation and a severe electricity shortage, Hamas has reached out to Cairo for help, hoping to have the Rafah border with Egypt opened.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Sissi in NY last month, denounced the reconciliation efforts, saying any future Palestinian government must disband the Hamas terror group's armed wing and sever its ties with Iran.

Al-Ahmed highly appreciated the Egyptian role and keenness to achieve Palestinian reconciliation, stressing that Egypt is the sponsor of the Arab national security, including the Palestinian security.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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