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Hamas says it accepts reconciliation demands

17 September 2017

In April 2014, Hamas, Fatah and the factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed on Shatti (Beach) an agreement at the house of the current Hamas chief Ismail Haneya in western Gaza and agreed to form a consensus technocrat government that runs both Gaza and the West Bank under the leadership of Rami Hamdallah.

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.

In July this year it emerged Gaza's Hamas movement was seeking a rapprochement with the Palestinian leader once regarded as its greatest enemy, as the Islamist group faces unprecedented challenges from all sides.

In its Sunday statement, Hamas invited Abbas' government to return to Gaza and said it was ready to enter talks with Fatah and hold new elections.

The Palestinian division between Fatah lead PA in the West Bank and Hamas government in the Gaza strip started in 2007 following elections, and repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed.

This decision was reportedly a response to the Egyptian efforts.

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"Hamas is ready to resume dialogue with the Fatah movement on implementing the Cairo reconciliation agreement of 2011 on the formation of a unity government with other Palestinian factions", said the leaflet.

Hamas has been weakened by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, three wars with Israel and worldwide isolation.

Punishing measures included reducing electricity payments for the Gaza strip and cutting salaries for civil servants there.

Delegations from Fatah and Hamas traveled last week to Cairo to discuss reconciliation.

The statement added that this comes in order to achieve the hope of the Palestinian people, to achieve national unity, and indicated Hamas' for the general elections. 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 residents of the territory have electricity for only a few hours a day.

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.

Hamas says it accepts reconciliation demands