Palestinian Authority, Hamas Reach Reconciliation Deal After 10-Year Feud

Posted October 13, 2017

In 2007, when the two groups could not agree on sharing power, Hamas drove Fatah leaders out of Gaza and wrested control of the seaside territory, leaving Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in control only of parts of the West Bank.

The agreement was signed by Hamas representative Saleh al-Arouri and Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed in a short ceremony today (October 12) following two days of talks brokered by Egypt.

The deal includes 3,000 members of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority's police force redeploying to Gaza, a member of the negotiating team told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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The two factions, the same source continued, had also agreed to allow a legal and administrative committee, drawn up earlier in Ramallah, to find solutions to longstanding problems - mostly related to salary shortfalls - faced by Gaza's Hamas-hired civil servants.

He added that sanctions taken by Abbas against Gaza will also soon be lifted.

Meanwhile, Egypt invited the convening of a meeting in Cairo on 21/11/2017 for all the Palestinian factions that signed the Palestinian National Accord Agreement on May 4, 2011. Multiple previous reconciliation efforts have failed.

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An Egyptian source close to the talks said intelligence chief Khaled Fawzi had followed the negotiations closely. 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.

The official was referring to the diplomatic Quartet on Middle East peace, which includes the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russian Federation.

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. "Unity and national reconciliation among the Palestinian people are our strategic option for moving forward".

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He also said that Russian and Iranian observers would also be deployed in some areas, without providing further details. "They are waiting to enter", said the commander, who did not want to be named for security reasons.

Ahead of the negotiations in Cairo, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu warned against "fake reconciliations" and stated once again that Israel demands the demilitarization of Hamas.