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Hamas, Fatah pen landmark reconciliation deal in Cairo

13 October, 2017, 00:45 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • People gather as the convoy of Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah arrives to take control of Gaza from Hamas in the northern part of the territory

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement Thursday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a "final" accord.

Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, center right, and Hamas' representative, Saleh al-Arouri, center left, sign a reconciliation agreement during a press conference at the Egyptian intelligence complex in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.

Since that seizure of power, Hamas - which is considered a terrorist organisation by both Israel and the USA - has ruled Gaza while Fatah, led by Palestinian figurehead Mahmoud Abbas, has controlled the West Bank. Hamas and Fatah agreed to transfer administration of Gaza to Union government at latest until December 1st.

The 2011 agreement stipulated that legislative, presidential and national council elections should be conducted within one year of its signing.

He also said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - who heads both the PA and the Ramallah government - had instructed members of the Fatah delegation to "end the state of Palestinian division once and for all".

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. A small number of people, mainly medical patients, business people and aid workers, use the Erez crossing to enter Israel, usually bound for the West Bank.

It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has seen deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Since then, the relations between the two rival factions have been very tense and all attempts to reconcile them over the past years have failed to bring fruit.

The new deal is understood to cover border crossing arrangements, Hamas' arsenal and the livelihoods of thousands of public servants.

Faced with increasing isolation and a severe electricity shortage, Hamas has reached out to Cairo for help, hoping to have the Rafah border with Egypt opened. Egypt has been brokering the reconciliation talks.

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