Hamas: Reconciliation Deal Reached with Fatah

Hamas: Reconciliation Deal Reached with Fatah

Hamas and Fatah have reached a deal over political reconciliation, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday without providing further details.

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

But under Egypt's mediation, major steps have been made toward narrowing rifts since Hamas handed administrative powers in Gaza to a Fatah-backed government last month.

Forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas lost control of Gaza in fighting with Hamas in 2007, leading to a crippling territorial and political split among Palestinians.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

"We congratulate our Palestinian people on the reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo". Multiple previous reconciliation talks have failed. In the years since, Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip and Fatah the West Bank.

Egypt has been keen to improve security in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Gaza and where Islamist rebels have fought a long-running insurgency.

"The talks are positive and the Egyptian side is even-handed", he said, according to the Palestinian Information Centre. Meanwhile, Azzam Ahmad, one of the leaders of the Fatah delegation, told Reuters that while the negotiations would include the government offices in Gaza, the main focus would be on the topic of security in Gaza due to its controversial nature.

The deal would see Hamas, which has the most powerful armed Palestinian faction with an estimated 25,000 well-equipped fighters who have fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

In return, Cairo had pressed Hamas to move forward on reconciliation with rival Fatah, prompting the two sides to launch into the negotiations.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (right) and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh hold hands in Gaza City October 2, 2017. Israel's enmity with Hamas means greater unity with Fatah is unlikely to help any future efforts for a peace deal with Israel.

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