Hamas Signaling Unity Government With Fatah Is Possible

In nod to Fatah Hamas disbands controversial committee

Hamas has agreed to talks with the rival Fatah movement to form a unity government and hold general elections in the Palestinian territories.

Hamas agreed to dissolve the administrative committee it had formed in March a year ago to run the daily affairs in the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since it had violently taken control of it in the summer of 2007.

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

Hamas said it had dissolved the contentious Administrative Committee that runs Gaza, invited Abbas' government to return to Gaza and was ready to hold new elections.

The statement called on Palestinian government ministers in Ramallah to come to Gaza and fully assume their roles, however, the PA still has not responded to the statement, as Palestinian president is about to leave to NY for the United Nations General Assembly session, where he will meet U.S president, Donald Trump.

Since 2007, Israel and Egypt have maintained a land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip to prevent attacks.

It added that it had decided to make the announcement in response to Egyptian efforts to achieve reconciliation and end internal Palestinian divisions. Abbas has also cut the salaries of thousands of former PA employees, many his supporters, who he had instructed not to work for the Hamas government.

The takeover led to rival governments, with Hamas controlling Gaza and Abbas in charge of autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

By doing this, Hamas has demonstrated a willingness to reach agreement with the Palestinian Fatah movement under the mediation of Egypt.

'The administrative committee is now dissolved and the government can come to Gaza today to assume its responsibilities and duties, ' he added.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

The unemployment rate now stands at 42 percent in Gaza, infrastructure for water and electricity do not meet its residents' basic needs and half of the population relies on humanitarian aid.

"As a result of having Fatah delegation in Cairo, Hamas has been put under the pressure of Egypt and Fatah delegation to immediately respond to Abbas call of dissolving its administrative committee, and it really did and agreed to dissolve it", said Oukal.

Despite Sunday's announcement, any reconciliation deal would still face many obstacles. The decision of Hamas to finally hold negotiations with Fatah may indicate first steps towards reconciliation.

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

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