World

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reach key deal over Gaza

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reach key deal over Gaza

"Any reconciliation between the (Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority) and Hamas must include a commitment to worldwide agreements and to the conditions of the Quartet, first of which is recognising Israel and demilitarising Hamas", the official said in the Israeli government's first reaction to the deal signed in Cairo.

According to the agreement, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority will resume all governing responsibilities in Gaza no later than December 1. But last month Hamas agreed to cede powers in Gaza to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-backed government in a deal mediated by Egypt.

An official from Abbas's Fatah movement said the Palestinian president was planning to soon travel to the Gaza Strip as part of the unity bid in what would be his first visit in at least a decade.

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

Both Fatah and Hamas have acknowledged that the issue of Hamas' military wing was not discussed during the talks that led to Thursday's deal, signed in Cairo and brokered by Egypt.

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"An agreement was reached today between Hamas and Fatah under Egyptian sponsorship", a statement from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's office said, without giving further details, AFP reported. Abbas has said he would not take over Gaza until Hamas gave up its weapons. Specifically, Fatah will reportedly have joint control over a key Gaza border crossing, and will in return lift some punitive sanctions.

Struggling with the fallout from the border blockade, Hamas has found it increasingly hard to govern or provide basic services, such as electricity, to Gaza's people.

Faced with increasing isolation and a severe electricity shortage, Hamas has reached out to Cairo for help, hoping to have the Rafah border with Egypt opened.

The prime minister said he considered Hamas "responsible for all acts of terrorism originating in Gaza", and called on the Palestinian Authority to prevent terror in the West Bank. In 2014, the sides agreed to create a unity government, but no such government was ever formed.


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