Hamas Says It Has Agreed to Key Conditions for Reconciliation
Sep 17 2017 by Desiree Burns
Some polls show that if parliamentary elections were held now, Hamas would win them in both Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the seat of Abbas's Palestinian Authority.
Hamas on Sunday morning said in a statement that it was ready to dissolve the administration it had established in recent months to manage the affairs of the Gaza Strip, hold general elections and immediately begin direct reconciliation talks with Fatah.
It went on saying that it chose to make the announcement in response to the Egyptian efforts for achieving reconciliation and ending the internal Palestinian division.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Hamas said it has accepted key conditions set by President Mahmoud Abbas, and would dissolve what is known as the Gaza administrative committee, a body seen as a parallel government to Abbas' Palestinian Authority.
Numerous attempts since 2011 to reconcile the two movements and form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have so far failed.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the talks with Egypt will focus on alleviating the blockade and mending a longstanding rift with rival group Fatah, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The announcement followed indirect negotiations between Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas in Cairo.
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Attempts to reconcile the two and form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have repeatedly failed.
The first consensus government was formed in June 2014.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.
Hoping to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, Abbas has cut payments to Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza.
But Egyptian reports said a Fatah delegation was in Egypt on Saturday to discuss a possible reconciliation. But Associated Press reported that it is not yet clear whether Hamas is ready to place its security forces under Abbas's control - a major sticking point in the past.
Gaza's economy is in tatters and it has one of the world's highest unemployment rates.
United Nations officials have called for the blockade to be lifted, but Israel says it is necessary to stop Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.