Hamas and Fatah announce reconciliation agreement in Cairo

Hamas and Fatah announce reconciliation agreement in Cairo

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement Thursday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a "final" accord. The details of the agreement will be explained at a press conference scheduled today, according to delegation chief Fatah Azzam al Ahmad.

"We hope they won't disappoint our people and break the joy", said Rahaab Kanaan, 55.

"As long as Hamas remains armed and as long as it calls for the destruction of Israel, Israel will consider Hamas responsible for any terror attack originating from Gaza", the official said.

A statement from Netanyahu's office said that Israel "will examine developments in the field and act accordingly".

The talks follow a key breakthrough last week, when PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah visited Hamas-run Gaza for the first time since 2015 and his ministers officially took control of government departments there.

Gaza has been subject to an Israeli blockade and Fatah strangulation of electricity and other resources since, which has crippled the economy and left much of the two million strong population dependent on aid.

The figure is however a fraction of the more than 20,000 police officers employed separately by Hamas.

Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said that he "welcomes" the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation signed between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo.




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.

The agreement is believed to include transfering administration of the border crossing between Gaza strip and Egypt to a unity government.

The crossing with Egypt may require more time for the handover, with construction work now underway there.

"All the measures taken recently will end very shortly", Zakaria al-Agha, a senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, told AFP.

During meetings in the Egyptian capital - whose "atmosphere" was reportedly described as "excellent" by both sides - important issues were discussed including government matters, borders and the salaries of public employees.

The Western-backed Abbas hasn't set foot in Gaza since 2007, when the Islamic militant Hamas, his main ideological rival, seized the territory after days of factional street battles.

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

Hamas suggested in a new political manifesto earlier this year that it might consider a state in pre-1967 lines as an interim option, but also endorses an Islamic state in historic Palestine, including what is now Israel.

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