Hamas Agrees to Fatah Talks on Palestinian Unity


In a statement issued overnight, Hamas said it was "responding to the generous Egyptian efforts, which reflect the Egyptian desire to end the split and achieve reconciliation, and based on our desire to achieve national unity". Hamas and Fatah even waged a short civil war in Gaza in 2007 and ever since, Hamas has controlled Gaza.

'We accepted that as a sign of our good will toward reconciliation, ' Hamas official Hussam Badran said.

Hamas announced on Sunday 26 Elul, night that they were prepared to begin reconciliation talks with the Fatah movement and meant to go with it until a general election was held in the Palestinian Authority.

Earlier this week, Hamas already showed its readiness to dissolve the committee and to transmit its powers to the unity government.

"Hamas invites the consensus government to come to Gaza to practice its mission and carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip immediately, and it accepts holding general elections", Hamas said in the statement.

Fatah is commending today (Sunday) Hamas's plan to hold an election in an attempt to reach an internal Palestinian reconciliation.

Israel's increasing restrictions on exit permits for Gaza residents, an escalating sewage crisis that is contaminating the strip's beaches, and high levels of unemployment, are all contributing to a mounting sense of exhaustion in the strip.

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Hamas has been greatly weakened by three losing armed conflicts with Israel since 2008, global isolation and one of the world's highest unemployment rates.

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. A delegation from Abbas' Fatah arrived in the Egyptian capital two days ago.

Despite Sunday's announcement, any reconciliation deal faces many obstacles.

However, Bjorn was skeptical if Hamas's announcement on Sunday would lead to a full-fledged reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. Abbas has also cut the salaries of thousands of former PA employees, many his supporters, who he had instructed not to work for the Hamas government.

Repeated efforts since 2011 to resolve the dispute between the two movements and form a unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have come to nothing.

Israel has blockaded Gaza for a decade, and its border with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.