Hamas, Fatah reach Palestinian reconciliation deal

Haniyeh Hamdallah

Haniyeh Hamdallah

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have reached an agreement after talks held since Tuesday in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

Palestinian media outlets have said that the two factions would hold a news conference later Thursday in Cairo to announce the details of the agreement.

Egypt has helped mediate several attempts to reconcile the two movements and form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank.

In the years since, Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip and Fatah the West Bank. Hamas's reversal was the most significant step toward Palestinian unity since the government was formed in 2014.

Abbas has pledged there would be "one authority, one law, one administration, one weapon" in the Gaza Strip, a statement seeming to challenge Hamas' continued security dominance.

"The talks are positive and the Egyptian side is even-handed", he said, according to the Palestinian Information Centre.

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. It failed to function in Gaza, where Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008, because of disputes between Hamas and Fatah over its responsibilities.

Struggling with the fallout from an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade since 2007, Hamas has found it increasingly hard to govern or provide basic services to Gaza's 2 million residents.

Egypt has also agreed to provide fuel to the Gaza Strip for electricity production.

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. "Thank God and our congratulations to our Palestinian people everywhere".

Sticking points in past and current talks included control over the arsenal of Hamas' armed wing, the fate of thousands of Hamas' public servants, arrangements for Gaza's border crossings and a restructuring of the security forces.

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.

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