Hamas leaders from W. Bank to join Egypt talks

The Hamas military branch in Gaza

While in the Gaza Strip Hamdallah led his first cabinet meeting in three years.

The government's visit to Gaza is one step on a long, bumpy road that Fatah and Hamas need to traverse together to achieve unity on thorny issues.

The attack comes as a reconciliation deal between the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the terrorist group Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip has progressed.

The Hamas delegation includes Saleh Arouri, deputy to the head of the Political Bureau, Yehya Sinwar, head of Hamas movement in Gaza, and his deputy Khalil al-Hayyeh, as well as members of the politburo Izzat Rishq, Husam Badran, Salah Bardawil and Mousa Abu Marzouk.

Speaking to Anadolu, the prominent Hamas leader in West Bank Hassan Yousef said that three Hamas officials might travel to Cairo to take part in the reconciliation talks if Israel, which controls the crossings, allows them to leave.

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Fatah leader Yahya Rabah told Al-Monitor, "The government can not be a mere formality in the Gaza Strip, and it is part of its duty to oversee all security headquarters, institutions and crossings without any kind of interference. The government will not accept being a pro forma authority without powers or influence".

Israeli commentators were divided on whether Hamas's move represents a victory or a setback for the movement.

Majid al-Fitiani, Secretary General of Fatah Revolutionary Council told Xinhua that all the files and issues that will be discussed in the dialogue had been already agreed upon in the reconciliation understanding reached in Cairo in May 2011, adding that all these issues will be discussed with Hamas.

This act of reconciliation appears to be more in progress than the effort in 2014, with the Gaza government being disbanded willingly by Hamas with the aim of putting it under the unity government, awaiting an election.

"Today, we stand before an important historic moment as we begin to get over our wounds, put our differences aside and place the higher national interest above all else", he said at the televised meeting. Hamas rejected this week the PA's demand for disarmament and has vowed to hold onto its weapons to fight Israel. He spoke on condition of anonymity pending an official announcement.

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