Palestinian government to visit Gaza in reunification step

Lester Mason
September 25, 2017

Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah will travel to Gaza on October 2 as part of a fresh push to end a decade-long split between Fatah and Hamas, which runs the enclave, his government said on Monday.

The takeover has left the Palestinians torn between two governments, with President Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority in charge of autonomous areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The great majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza said they thought that President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) should resign, according to a new survey carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), quoted by Maan news agency.

There has been a decade-long split between Gaza and the occupied West Bank since Hamas took control of the coastal enclave in 2007, following internal disputes sparked by Hamas's victory in 2006 elections, which was rejected by Fatah and the worldwide community.

Meanwhile, the PA said that while in Gaza next week it plans to assess just how serious Hamas is about handing over control to its ministers and letting a united Palestinian Authority rule there.

Hamdallah last visited Gaza in March 2015 to discuss rehabilitating the Strip's infrastructure with Hamas and other factions in the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge. But many thorny issues, including the fate of Hamas' armed forces, remain unresolved.

"I am heading to the beloved Gaza Strip next Monday with the government and all bodies, authorities and security services", he wrote. "We can't miss this last opportunity to bring unity", Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told a news conference in Gaza on Monday. In previous reconciliation attempts, Hamas agreed to cede control over civil affairs in Gaza, but refused to do the same for security affairs.

The latest reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas come as US President Donald Trump has sought to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and met separately with Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY last week.

"Hamas wishes success to the consensus government in all its missions, duties and responsibilities, and hopes that the government will withdraw all the punitive measures which had been taken against Gaza and its people", he said.

Facing those conditions, Hamas has turned to Egypt for assistance, particularly for fuel to produce power and with hopes of opening the border - and has faced pressure to take steps toward Palestinian reconciliation in return.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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