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Fatah, Hamas to head to Cairo next week to continue reconciliation talks

Oct. 4, 2017 1:50 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 9, 2017 3:03 P.M.)
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh meets with head of Egyptian intelligence Khalid Fawzi in Gaza on Oct. 3
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Fatah and Hamas delegation is preparing to head to Cairo next Tuesday to hold meetings in favor of applying the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo in May 2011, member of Fatah’s revolutionary council Fayiz Abu Aita said Wednesday.

The Fatah delegation is scheduled to leave to Cairo on Tuesday, which will come one week after the consensus government started taking over its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Aita said that there are "obstacles" that could obstruct reaching understandings between the two movements, but that they are "all solvable and could be dealt with patiently and wisely."

He reiterated that all issues that have arisen since Hamas took control of Gaza a decade ago -- such as the administration of the border crossings with Israel and Egypt, unpaid salaries to public employees, and the territory's dire electricity crisis -- would be discussed and resolved in Cairo.

Abu Aita's statement came a day after the National Consensus Government convened for the first time in three years in Gaza City, as officials arrived from Ramallah to begin Egyptian-mediated efforts to reactivate the unity government to rule both the West Bank and Gaza. Fatah, which leads the government, was driven out of the territory in 2007 after a lost election and civil war with rival Hamas.

Despite multiple attempts over the years aimed at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation and holding of long-overdue elections, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.

Meanwhile, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General Saeb Erekat released a statement on Wednesday saying that now that Palestinian political reconciliation was underway, it was "time for Israel to abide by international law and to recognize the right of the State of Palestine to exist."

He highlighted that that the Palestine National Council has recognized the State of Israel, which he called a "historic compromise" that was "evidence of our commitment to achieving a genuine and lasting peace with Israel on the basis of ending its belligerent military occupation to establish our independent, sovereign and contiguous state on the internationally-recognized 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Erekat underscored that "Palestine continues to fulfill all of its obligations under signed agreements with Israel despite its continued denial to recognize Palestinian rights, mainly our right to self-determination, and Palestine's right to exist," adding that Israel is in fact "committed to consolidating its settlement enterprise by building more settlements and by transferring its own population to occupied Palestinian lands."

"Evidently, Israel's commitment to turning its occupation into annexation renders the two-state solution impossible and perpetuates the systematic denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,.

"Some in Israel and the United States have called on Hamas to recognize Israel. Instead, Israel and the United States should recognize the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is the way to achieve the ultimate deal with the State of Israel to live side by side the State of Palestine in peace and security," he said.
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