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September 17, 2017 11:18 am

Hamas Says Ready to Hand Gaza Control to Palestinian Unity Government

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Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (L) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Jewish Policy Center. – The Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas announced Sunday it accepted the demands of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party to form a unity government.

The demands outlined by Abbas reportedly include holding Palestinian elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to settle the decade-long dispute between the rival Palestinian factions.

Hamas issued a statement Saturday night saying 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.”

Hamas also stated it would dismantle its administrative committee that currently rules the Gaza Strip.

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The announcement follows a move last week by Ismail Haniyeh, the top leader of Hamas, who said his organization was prepared to form a unity government with Fatah without preconditions, amid reconciliation talks in Cairo mediated by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government.

Ahead of Sunday’s announcement, a Fatah delegation visited Cairo a day earlier to meet with Egyptian officials regarding the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

The move towards reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions comes after the recently resolved energy crisis in Gaza, which was precipitated by the PA’s June decision to pay only 60 percent of the coastal territory’s monthly electricity bill, amidst an ongoing feud with Hamas.

A Palestinian unity government was previously formed in 2014 between Hamas and Fatah, but ended in 2015 after making little progress to reconcile the deep split between the two Palestinian factions.

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