Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Rival Palestinian Groups Hamas, Fatah Reach Deal Over Control Of Gaza

Hamas and Fatah sign agreement on reconciliation Unity deal offers hope for Palestinians
Andrew Cummings | 16 October, 2017, 01:58

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.

Although Mr Blair did not elaborate on the nature of the British Government's "informal" contact with Hamas, he appeared to be referring to talks between MI6 and Hamas representatives to secure the release of a British journalist kidnapped in Gaza in 2007.

People who want to make it out of the border crossing or back in have been facing difficulties, as the crossing is regularly closed, sometimes at short notice.

"This reconciliation agreement concludes the conflict among our Palestinian brothers", Kalin said in a statement.

One such person is Asraa Sherif, a student who wishes to pursue her higher studies in Turkey.

This comes after the two factions signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo last week, including a timetable for elections, and the transfer of Gaza border crossings to Palestinian Authority control.

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In July, another resolution declared the Old City of Hebron in the occupied West Bank an endangered World Heritage site . "Yet another delusional decision by UNESCO ", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indignantly said at the time .

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said on Friday that the EU is ready to help the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to reunite under "one single and legitimate Palestinian Authority". But instead, the global community should have tried to "pull Hamas into a dialogue", Blair said in an interview for Donald Macintyre's "Gaza: Preparing for Dawn", which is set to be released in November.

It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has seen deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Attempts at reconciliation in recent years fell apart. The contentious issue of paying Hamas employees aims to be resolved by February 1, with the PA expected to continue issuing the workers' salaries; whereas, the even stickier matter of the fate of Hamas' armed wing seems not to have been concretely addressed, although a clause in the agreement calls for PA officials in Gaza to begin devising ways to rebuild their security forces there.

A number of Hamas attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets have been thwarted there this year, according to Israeli media.

According to the newspaper, Hamas sources confirmed that the deal includes an "implicit understanding" to end confrontation in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Reconciliation could also pose a dilemma for global efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal since Hamas has not recognized Israel, unlike the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organization.

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