Fatah, Hamas sign reconciliation deal in Cairo

Trevor Jackson
October 13, 2017

The Fatah official stressed that President Mahmoud Abbas instructed the delegation not to return without a reconciliation deal.

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.

Hamas and Fatah agreed in 2014 to form a national reconciliation government, but the deal soon dissipated in mutual recriminations with Hamas continuing to dominate Gaza.

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. Thursday's signing came after two days of negotiations in the Egyptian capital on the governing of the Gaza Strip as part of the most serious effort to date to end the 10 year rift between the rival Palestinian groups.

The sides also agreed on handing over the Rafah crossing on the border between Egypt and Gaza to the presidential guard, controlled by the Palestinian administration in the West Bank.

Abbas has tried numerous times without success to fix the rift, in part to counter Israeli assertions that peace negotiations are pointless because he can't ensure that any treaty will also hold in Gaza.

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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.

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.

Since then, the relations between the two rival factions have been very tense and all attempts to reconcile them over the past years have failed to bring fruit. 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. "Unity and national reconciliation among the Palestinian people are our strategic option for moving forward".

The U.S. says it wants the Palestinian Authority to take control of Gaza again.

There was no indication that an understanding had been reached on the fate of Hamas's armed wing, a sticking point which analysts have said could yet scupper reconciliation efforts.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Sissi in NY last month, denounced the reconciliation efforts, saying any future Palestinian government must disband the Hamas terror group's armed wing and sever its ties with Iran.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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