Palestinians Strike Gaza Unity Deal After Marathon Cairo Talks

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on October 2

Hamas and Fatah have reached a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, Reuters reports citing the Palestinian Information Centre.

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

Fatah officials said the two sides agreed that the Palestinian Authority would take over responsibility for Gaza's border crossings no later than November 1 and that full governing responsibilities would be handed over to the Palestinian Authority by the beginning of December.

"We also extend our thanks and appreciation to President Abbas who had the desire and the real will to end the division and restore the unity of the brotherly Palestinian people", the statement read.

See here, here and here.

Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas's influential Political Bureau, also voiced appreciation for the role played by Egypt in sponsoring inter-Palestinian dialogue. Since then, Palestine has been divided into two parts: Fatah controls the West Bank and Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. But last month Hamas agreed to cede powers in Gaza to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-backed government in a deal mediated by Egypt.

The official was referring to the diplomatic Quartet on Middle East peace, which includes the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russian Federation.

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Hamas does not recognise Israel and has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008.

MK Tzipi Livni called the reconciliation talks in Cairo "an opportunity for change", but also called on Hamas to disarm.

The crossing has remained largely closed in recent years.

In return, Cairo pressed Hamas to move forward on reconciliation with Fatah.

Repeated reconciliation attempts have failed since 2007. Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on the territory, severely restricting Palestinians from leaving the territory and goods from entering.

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.

The latest reconciliation efforts come as US President Donald Trump has sought to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and met separately with Abbas and Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY last month.

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