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Hamas Agrees To Demands To End Decade-Long Palestinian Rift
17 September 2017, 12:53 | Erica Roy
Hamas says it accepts Abbas's reconciliation demands
Hamas announced on Sunday that it has dissolved its administration of the Gaza strip, and would be prepared to commence talks with Fatah on holding general elections and forming a unity government.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's western-backed Palestine Authority, which is controlled by Fatah, fought a war with Hamas over Gaza in 2007, which led to Hamas taking over.
The negotiations were "an expression of Egyptian interest in Palestinian reconciliation and ending the division, and our interest to realize the hopes of the Palestinian people by achieving national unity", Hamas said.
Welcoming Hamas' announcement, a senior Fatah official, Mahmoud Aloul told Reuters, Mahmoud Aloul, "If this is Hamas statement, then this is a positive sign".
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Ismail Haniya, who heads Hamas, travelled to Cairo last week for reconciliation discussions, and Abbas sent a delegation of representatives to Egypt as well.
The Palestinian militant group Hamas says it is aiming for talks with rivals Fatah as it aims to end their decade-long feud.
Last presidential elections were held in 2005 and legislative elections in 2006.
Since then, the Palestinian leadership has been divided between two rival governments.
The move also comes after a series of Palestinian Authority measures created to pressure Hamas, including reduction of electricity in Gaza and cutting of salaries.
Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed.
In March, Abbas stepped up pressure on Hamas after it formed the contentious committee that runs Gaza.
"This position puts President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement in front of the Egyptian efforts and in front of the Palestinian people before a real test in order to achieve our people's aspirations, achieve a real unity and a real partnership", said Barhoum.
Representatives for Abbas, who is in NY ahead of the U.N. General Assembly this week, could not be reached for comment, nor could Fatah representatives presently in Egypt, which has been hosting talks with Hamas.
Still, it's not clear whether Hamas will brush away a formidable obstacle to reconciliation by putting its security forces under Abbas's control.
Gaza's economy is in tatters and it has one of the world's highest unemployment rates.
Talal Oukal, a Gaza-based political analyst and academic said there is apparently "a wave of optimism this time because it seems that the Egyptians are more serious than before", adding that Hamas and Egypt's ties are getting better, so Hamas "is keen to keep these ties good with Egypt".
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