Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

Hamas and Fatah 'agree deal' for unified Palestinian government

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on October 2 Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on October 2
Wilma Wheeler | 13 October, 2017, 00:38

Al-Ahmad, who is also the head of Fatah delegation for the Cairo talks, said what was agreed upon two weeks ago under the auspices of Egypt is empowering the legitimate government to operate in accordance with its powers in accordance with the Basic Law in effect in the West Bank.

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas told AFP on Thursday, "I welcome the agreement".

In an apparent attempt to influence the Cairo-brokered talks, an Israeli delegation landed in Cairo to meet with Egyptian officials.

In 2014 a deal was struck, however Hamas reneged on the agreement and continued to rule over Gaza.

The two sides remain sharply at odds, however, over the future of Hamas's 25,000-strong armed wing, which the terror group says is nonnegotiable.

A statement from Netanyahu's office said that Israel "will examine developments in the field and act accordingly".

Negotiations are now expected to be held on forming a unity government, with the various Palestinian political movements invited to another meeting in Cairo on November 21.

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's acting chief in Gaza, for his part, congratulated Abbas on the watershed agreement.

The figure is however a fraction of the more than 20,000 police officers employed separately by Hamas.

According to a readout of a telephone call issued by a United Nations spokesperson, Mr. Guterres said he was encouraged by the recent progress in allowing the Palestinian Government to take up its responsibilities in Gaza and welcomed Egypt's efforts to achieve this goal.

The crossing with Egypt may require more time for the handover, with construction work now underway there. A senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, Zakaria al-Agha, said that Abbas "will be in Gaza within less than a month".

The agreement, which is a reactivation of a previous deal signed in 2011, was signed in the presence of Egyptian Intelligence Minister Khalid Fawzi.

Israel viewed the Palestinian accord warily, saying it must abide by previous worldwide agreements and terms set out by the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators - including the recognition of Israel and the disarming of Hamas.

Hamas does not recognise Israel and has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008.

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. Hamas and Fatah organisations began negotiations on reconciliation last Tuesday through Egypt.

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.

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