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Officials discuss civil liberties in first step toward unity govt

April 30, 2014 1:17 P.M. (Updated: May 10, 2014 4:39 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian officials from the West Bank and Gaza took a first step towards implementing the reconciliation agreement signed by Hamas and the Fatah-led PLO a week ago, a committee member said Wednesday.

Khalil Assaf told Ma'an that officials in Ramallah and Gaza City simultaneously convened a subcommittee meeting to discuss civil liberties in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under the Palestinian unity government that is due to be implemented within four weeks.

The meetings were to take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and would discuss the release of political detainees held in the West Bank and Gaza, Assaf said.

The subcommittee of liberties was originally conceived of during a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo in 2010, he added.

Issam Abu Daqqa, a member of the committee in Gaza, told Ma'an one of the topics of Wednesday's meetings will be the end of a ban on West Bank newspapers in Gaza.

All subcommittees that emerged from the Cairo agreement in 2010 will be reactivated as a result of last week's deal, Abu Daqqa added.

Hamas and the PLO signed a deal to end over seven years of political division last Wednesday.

The deal infuriated Israel, which ended US-brokered peace talks with the PLO, saying it would "not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas."

The division between the two Palestinian factions began in 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections.

In the following year, clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.

The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements -- one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha -- which have as of yet been unimplemented.
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