Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Hamas seeks new talks with rivals Fatah

Hamas seeks new talks with rivals Fatah

The last time Hamas and Fatah tried to reconcile in May 2014, the two parties agreed to allow the PA government take responsibility for Gaza and hold elections.

Attempts by the groups to form a unity government in Gaza and the West Bank since then have failed.

"We in Fatah movement are ready to implement reconciliation".

Hamas has agreed to talks with the rival Fatah movement to form a unity government and hold general elections in the Palestinian territories.

The move also comes after a series of Palestinian Authority measures created to pressure Hamas, including reduction of electricity in Gaza and cutting of salaries.

Last Tuesday, Fatah Central Committee Member Azzam al-Ahmad, who is now leading the Fatah delegation in Cairo, said if Hamas disbands its administrative committee, Abbas would lift its punitive measures against it.

Hamas's statement said the move came as a direct result of Egyptian negotiations for Palestinian unity, saying it wanted talks "to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and end the division".

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Bjorn Brenner, the author of Gaza Under Hamas, said that Hamas agreed to disband its administrative committee because it has come under the pressure to deliver to the people of Gaza. At the end of the war, Hamas and Fatah disagreed on whether the consensus government should pay the salaries of 42,000 Hamas employees or not.

Abbas, now in NY for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, has yet to comment on Hamas's announcement.

Forming the committee outraged Abbas and urged him to carry out punitive measures against Gaza.

"This position puts President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement in front of the Egyptian efforts and in front of the Palestinian people before a real test in order to achieve our people's aspirations, achieve a real unity and a real partnership", said Barhoum.

Despite Sunday's announcement, any reconciliation deal would still face many obstacles.

"Hamas wants to improve the situation in Gaza, but it doesn't want to give up control of it", Bjorn said.

Hamas also expressed its readiness to meet the Egyptian call for dialogue with the PLO on the mechanisms of implementation of the May 2012 Fatah-Hamas Cairo Agreement - signed by Fatah's Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas' leader Khaled Mashal, on the formation of an interim government in preparation for elections for a new Palestinian government. But he said more information was needed before considering it a done deal.

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