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Hamas Says Deal Reached in Palestinian Reconciliation

13 October 2017
Hamas Says Deal Reached in Palestinian Reconciliation

Reconciliation could also pose a dilemma for worldwide efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal since Hamas has not recognised Israel, unlike the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation.

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. Hamas and Fatah agreed in 2014 to form a national reconciliation government, but despite that deal, Hamas's shadow government continued to rule the Gaza Strip.

Speaking from Ramallah on Thursday, Abbas said the landmark agreement would go a long way towards ending years of bitter division between the two factions. The official spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement in Cairo.

"The legitimate government, the government of consensus, will return according to its responsibilities and according to the law", Fatah delegation chief Azzam Al-Ahmed said at the signing ceremony in Cairo.

Struggling with the fallout from the border blockade, Hamas has found it increasingly hard to govern or provide basic services, such as electricity, to Gaza's people.

Mr Abbas will visit Gaza in "less than a month", a Fatah official told Agence France-Presse.

However in September Hamas agreed that it would give up its power over Gaza, paving the way for this week's reconciliation talks.

The deal, reportedly concluded at dawn this morning, includes a provision for Gaza to be handed over to a unity government, led by Fatah, by December 1.

The same source, who preferred anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media, said Hamas and Fatah had also agreed to allow the unity government to assume full responsibility for all of Gaza's border crossings by November 1.

During this period, the source added, the Ramallah government will pay all outstanding salaries owed to Gaza's public servants.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement that the agreement was reached under "generous Egyptian auspices", but provided no details.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said on Sunday the Egypt-backed reconciliation talks between the PA and Hamas are "preparation" for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

"It is hard to imagine Hamas giving up its weapons for the sake of reconciliation", Tariq Dana, policy adviser at Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, told Al Jazeera earlier this month.