Egyptian delegates arrive in Gaza on the eve of fresh attempt at reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.
By Elad Benari – Arutz Sheva
Egyptian delegates arrived in Gaza on Sunday on the eve of a fresh attempt at reconciliation between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah, AFP reported.
Rami Hamdallah, the head of the PA Ramallah-based government, is to make his first visit to Gaza since 2015 on Monday, aiming to crown a rapprochement between the rivals after a decade of animosity and outbreaks of violence.
The official PA news agency WAFA said Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh called Abbas on Sunday evening to discuss preparations for Monday’s visit, but it did not give any details.
Hamdallah’s visit was made possible after Hamas announced it was willing to hold talks with Fatah and dismantle the Gaza administrative committee, which served as a local independent governing authority.
Haniyeh later reiterated the group’s readiness for reconciliation with Fatah.
The initiative is backed by Egypt which will be closely following the talks, intended to prepare for a transfer of power in Gaza from Hamas to Abbas’s PA.
“An Egyptian delegation, including Egypt’s ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat, and two other high ranking Egyptian intelligence officers, arrived in Gaza” from Israel, Mohammed al-Maqdama from the PA office that coordinates with the Israeli authorities told AFP.
Hamas said in a statement that Haniyeh and Hamas Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar met the Egyptians on their arrival.
PA media reports said that the PA official in charge of culture, Ehab Bessaiso, also arrived, taking charge of his ministry’s Gaza offices and meeting staff.
Hamas and Fatah, which dominates the PA, have both expressed confidence that the latest unity initiative will fare better than the failures of the past.
The two groups have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza in a bloody coup. All attempts to reconcile the sides have thus far failed.
A unity government between the sides collapsed in 2015 when Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.
The tensions have escalated recently after Hamas established the administrative board tasked with running the day-to-day affairs in Gaza.
Abbas responded to the establishment of the administrative board by creating economic pressure on Hamas in an attempt to force it to cede control of Gaza.