Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Rival Palestinian Groups Hamas, Fatah Reach Deal Over Control Of Gaza

Rival Palestinian Groups Hamas, Fatah Reach Deal Over Control Of Gaza

Israel opposes reconciliation agreements between rivals Hamas and Fatah if Hamas doesn't do away with its armed wing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Thursday.

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a political reconciliation deal in Cairo on Thursday, Aljazeera TV channel has reported.

Al-Ahmed told reporters after the ceremony that there has been "full agreement" to empower a national unity government to assume its full authorities in Gaza.

See here, here and here. Hamas leaders have said they would not disarm as long as Israel occupies Palestinian land.

The source added that security officials from Ramallah would soon hold a series of meetings in Gaza with their counterparts from Hamas to discuss means of handing over security responsibility for the blockaded coastal enclave. Such a move would restore a great deal of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' influence in Gaza while weakening Hamas' control.

Egypt has previously attempted to help Hamas and Fatah create a united government for Gaza and the West Bank.

Fatah, the more moderate of the two groups, previously controlled Gaza but was ousted by Hamas a decade ago, leaving Palestine split in two. 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.

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"It is hard to imagine Hamas giving up its weapons for the sake of reconciliation", Tariq Dana, policy adviser at Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, told Al Jazeera earlier this month.

The crossing has remained largely closed in recent years.

This could be a sticking point for any reconciliation efforts moving forward.

Multiple previous reconciliation talks have failed.

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's acting chief in Gaza, for his part, congratulated Abbas on the watershed agreement.

The new deal is understood to cover border crossing arrangements, Hamas' arsenal and the livelihoods of thousands of public servants. Fatah has claimed that the Rafah border crossing should be managed by Abbas' presidential guards and under the supervision of the European Union, relieving thousands of Hamas members of their jobs.

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