Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas to hold talks

by Abel Hampton October 3, 2017, 1:29
Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas to hold talks

That deployment would still leave Hamas's armed wing - analysts say it has at least 25,000 well-equipped fighters - the dominant power in the Palestinian enclave of 2 million people.

In the past, Israel has fought against any role in the Palestinian government for Hamas, which achieved worldwide notoriety in the 1990s by launching suicide bomb attacks in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the USA and the E.U. Steps taken include temporarily halting the monthly transfer of some $100 million in tax revenue Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The Egyptian delegation was led by Egypt's ambassador to israel Hazem Khairat.

Since Hamas took over Gaza after violent clashes in 2007, there have been several failed attempts at reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

Despite the rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah, a number of issues are yet to be resolved. It would be the first visit by the Palestinian Premiere since 2014. "They are hopeful that this step will alleviate the hard economic situation in Gaza, the border crossings will be open more often, the issue of PA employees will be solved, and that electricity [will] be returned", Modallal told Al Jazeera.

Palestinian media reports said that PA culture minister Ehab Bessaiso also arrived, taking charge of his ministry's Gaza offices and meeting staff. The current reconciliation effort is seen as having a better chance of success due to Hamas weakness and its need to maintain good ties with Egypt, which is brokering the reconciliation.

After Hamas agreed to comply with Abbas' key demands, Hamas called on Abbas to cancel all punitive measures and put an end to carrying out "political arrests" in the occupied West Bank.

After a Hamas delegation met with Egyptian diplomats in Cairo late last month, the movement decided it would dissolve its administrative committee and expressed its willingness to reconcile with its rival, the Fatah political party, after a decade of division.

Abdullah Abdullah, a legislator who supports Abbas, said: "There is a good chance it will work". Hamas is also classified as a terrorist organization by Israel.

"One of the issues is whether Hamas will be able to retain its arms".

On Tuesday, the Palestinian unity cabinet will meet in Gaza.

But the deputy head of Hamas' political wing, Dr. Moussa Abu Marzouk, said that the group's military wing is not up for discussion. The potential outcomes are numerous, including the very real possibility that the unity talks will once again fail.

Mr Ajrami said it is possible, however, that in order to allow the reconciliation to proceed Abbas will agree that the Qassam brigades keep their weapons for now as long as they do not interfere in the working of the PA government or take actions that could cause war with Israel.

The outcome will determine the Palestinians' acceptance on the global stage.


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