Palestine's Fatah, Hamas reach reconciliation deal

Multiple previous attempts at reconciliation have failed but the latest Egyptian-led push received a major boost last month when Hamas agreed to cede civil power in Gaza.

Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, center right, and Hamas' representative, Saleh al-Arouri, center left, sign a reconciliation agreement during a press conference at the Egyptian intelligence complex in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.

Celebrations broke out in the Gaza Strip after the announcement of the deal, with residents waving flags of Egypt, Palestine, Fatah and Hamas.

The latest reconciliation efforts come as US President Donald Trump has sought to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and met separately with Abbas and Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY last month.

Two weeks before this, another meeting will be held in Cairo (on November 14) between representatives of all Palestinian factions, the same source said, adding that this meeting would discuss "mechanisms" for implementing the reconciliation agreement.

He said the unity government would "run all institutions without exception", including all border crossings with Israel and in Rafah, Gaza's only access point with Egypt.

Hamas and Fatah officials held two days of talks in Cairo this week about a Palestinian Authority return to Gaza. Abbas has said he would not take over Gaza until Hamas gave up its weapons.

Certain success in overcoming the split was reached in September when Cairo hosted talks of Egypt's intelligence first with the Hamas delegation and then with Fatah emissaries.

Hamas does not recognise Israel and has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008. Direct negotiations began on Tuesday, with a marathon second day stretching into the early hours of Thursday. Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on the territory, severely restricting Palestinians from leaving the territory and goods from entering.

"Israel will examine developments in the field and act accordingly", said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

  • Joey Payne