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Fatah delegation to meet with Hamas in Gaza in bid toward reconciliation

April 11, 2017 3:40 P.M. (Updated: April 12, 2017 8:29 P.M.)
Hamas rally in Gaza (Photo: Hamas official website)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A delegation representing the Palestinian Authority's ruling Fatah party is set to travel to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, after Israel ends its lockdown on the occupied West Bank and Gaza imposed for the Jewish holiday of Passover to end Monday night.

Member of Fatah’s Central Committee Jamal Muheisin told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the delegation would appeal to Hamas officials to uphold to the terms set out in the 2012 Cairo agreement.

Muheisin accused Hamas of taking steps that violated past agreements made toward reconciliation, namely, a recent plan unveiled by Hamas to form a new administrative committee to run the Gaza Strip. Hamas officials have meanwhile countered that the committee was merely a temporary solution to coordinate between Gaza’s ministries in Gaza, and lobbed accusations back at the PA for failing to work towards forming a unity government in both territories.

Regardless, Muheisin warned that if Hamas did not back down from such moves, “possible future steps will be discussed upon the delegation’s return in order to protect our national project."

The Fatah official’s remarks came after sources close to the PA told Ma’an on Monday that the Palestinian government would be “reshuffled” if Hamas did not adhere to policies set out in the 2014 agreement to form a national unity government.

According to the sources, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has already requested a reshuffle of five ministries, including the ministries of agriculture, health, and culture. The motive behind the reshuffle is that “some ministries were not doing their job properly.” Minister of Culture Ziyad Abu Amr is based in the Gaza Strip.

The sources said that Abbas has presented a roadmap consisting of five measures to be taken which are: disbanding Hamas’ administrative committee; transferring authority over crossings and ministries in Gaza Strip to the PA; committing to forming a national unity government; conducting legislative and presidential elections in three months; and “canceling all decisions unilaterally taken by Hamas in Gaza.”

If Hamas agrees to the roadmap, which the sources said was “nonnegotiable,” the formation of a national unity government would be immediately declared.

Tensions between Hamas and Fatah have escalated recently, particularly after the PA introduced massive cuts to salaries for civil servants that only affected employees in Gaza.

Despite numerous attempts at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.

Officials from the Fatah-led PA have criticized Hamas for creating a shadow government in the Gaza Strip and blocking efforts to reach political unity.

Hamas has in turn accused the PA of executing a plan to "eradicate" the movement from the West Bank, accusing Fatah of “escalating security collaboration” with the Israeli authorities through politically motivated arrests and “adopting a revolving door policy" funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.
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