Hamas Accepts PA Reconciliation Demands to Dissolve Gaza Administration, Hold Elections

18 September, 2017, 00:20 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Mohamad Torokman  Reuters

Hamas said in statement that it wants the rival Fatah to return to Gaza and conduct nationwide elections, which haven't been held since 2006.

Hamas has agreed to hold general elections in Gaza in order to bring about an end to its long-running feud with the rival Fatah movement. Hamas and Fatah then fought a civil war in Gaza in 2007.

'We accepted that as a sign of our good will toward reconciliation, ' Hamas official Hussam Badran said.

The radical Islamist movement Hamas said it was ready to transfer its controlled Gaza under the jurisdiction of the government leader of the Palestinian territories Mahmoud Abbas.

Egypt relayed Fatah demands to Hamas that as a first step, it must dissolve the administrative committee and allow their unity government - formed in 2014 - to take charge.

The Hamas movement announced early Sunday that it is ready to hand over the Gaza Strip to the consensus government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The group said it was "responding to the generous Egyptian efforts, which reflect the Egyptian desire to end the split and achieve reconciliation, and based on our desire to achieve national unity".

Some opinion polls have showed that if parliamentary elections were held now, Hamas would win both in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the seat of Mr Abbas's Palestinian Authority.

Last Tuesday, Fatah Central Committee Member Azzam al-Ahmad, who is now leading the Fatah delegation in Cairo, said if Hamas disbands its administrative committee, Abbas would lift its punitive measures against it.

Hamas has been greatly weakened by three losing armed conflicts with Israel since 2008, worldwide isolation and one of the world's highest unemployment rates.

Aiming to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, Mr Abbas cut payments to Israel for the electricity it supplies to the enclave, leading to power provided for less than four hours on some days, and never more than six hours a day. The two sides were still in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Sunday night.

However, he wondered if "Hamas committee is the only obstacle for reaching full reconciliation and ending internal division", saying that he is "personally consciously optimistic", because there are many questions that need answers. It also represents Hamas' aspiration to get a seat at the table should President Donald Trump's efforts at restoring the "peace process" with Israel succeed.

Israel has blockaded Gaza for a decade, and its border with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.



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