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AFP: Palestinian unity govt must recognise Israel, disarm Hamas

AFP: Palestinian unity govt must recognise Israel, disarm Hamas

19 October 2017 | 09:40 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. A top aide to US President Donald Trump said Thursday that an emerging Palestinian unity government must recognise Israel and disarm Hamas, following a landmark reconciliation deal signed last week, AFP reported.
"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognise the state of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties -– including to disarm terrorists - and commit to peaceful negotiations," Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special representative for international negotiations, said in a statement.
"If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements."
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Daily Star Lebanon: Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

Daily Star Lebanon: Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

12 October 2017 | 16:27 | FOCUS News Agency
CAIRO. 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, Daily Star Lebanon reports.

Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority is to resume full control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by Dec. 1, according to a statement from Egypt's intelligence agency, which oversaw the talks.

Abbas welcomed the deal in comments to AFP and said he considered it a "final agreement to end the division" - though many details remain to be resolved and previous reconciliation attempts have repeatedly failed.

It was signed in Cairo by new Hamas deputy leader Salah al-Aruri and Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the Fatah delegation for the talks.

Negotiations are now expected to be held on forming a unity government, with the various Palestinian political movements invited to another meeting in Cairo on Nov. 21.

An official from Abbas's Fatah movement said the Palestinian president was planning to soon travel to the Gaza Strip as part of the unity bid in what would be his first visit in a decade.

Sanctions taken by Abbas against Hamas-controlled Gaza will also soon be lifted, the Fatah official said.

The deal includes 3,000 members of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority's police force redeploying to Gaza, a member of the negotiating team told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The figure is however a fraction of the more than 20,000 police officers employed separately by Hamas.

Another party to the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agreement would see Palestinian Authority forces take control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

One of the key issues has been punitive measures taken by Abbas against Gaza in recent months, including reducing electricity payments that left the territory's residents with only a few hours of power a day.

"All the measures taken recently will end very shortly," Zakaria al-Agha, a senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, told AFP.

The two sides had been meeting in the Egyptian capital this week with the aim of ending the crippling decade-old split between the rival factions.

Hamas seized Gaza from Fatah in a near civil war in 2007 and the two factions have been at loggerheads ever since. Multiple previous reconciliation efforts have failed.

Egypt has been keen to improve security in the Sinai Peninsula which borders Gaza and where jihadist rebels have fought a long-running insurgency.

An Egyptian source close to the talks said intelligence chief Khaled Fawzi had followed the negotiations closely.

Last month, Hamas agreed to cede civil power in Gaza to the Palestinian Authority but the fate of its vast military wing remains a significant issue for the two sides.

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

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

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

The crossing has remained largely closed in recent years.

Egypt has also agreed to provide fuel to the Gaza Strip for electricity generation.

In return, Cairo pressed Hamas to move forward on reconciliation with Fatah.

Previous attempts at reconciliation have repeatedly failed, and many analysts are treating the latest bid with caution, waiting to see if actual change will occur on the ground.

Last week, Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah visited Gaza for the first time since 2015 and his ministers took formal control of government departments in the territory.

But the move was seen as mainly symbolic, with Hamas still effectively in charge in the Palestinian enclave of two million people bordered by Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea.

One of the key sticking points will be the fate of Hamas's 25,000-strong military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

Reconciliation could also pose a dilemma for international efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal since Hamas has not recognised Israel, unlike the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation.
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Haaretz: Hamas, Fatah Reach Palestinian Reconciliation Deal in Cairo

Haaretz: Hamas, Fatah Reach Palestinian Reconciliation Deal in Cairo

12 October 2017 | 09:25 | FOCUS News Agency
Cairo. Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have reached a reconciliation agreement, Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh announced on Thursday, Haaretz reported.
Details of the agreement, which comes after two days of intensive negotiations between the two sides at the headquaters of Egyptian intelligence in Cairo, have not yet been made public.
According to reports in Gaza and Ramallah, representatives of both organizations will hold a press conference at noon where details of the agreement will be shared.
A number of key issues are at stake in a reconciliation deal, which is based on understandings reached in the earlier Cairo agreement of 2011. Concluding what was essentially the first round of talks, Thursday's agreement will only focus on civil, administrative and internal security issues. The issue of arms and Hamas's military wing have not yet been discussed.
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PICTURE OF THE DAY
Knife-wielding man wounds five people in Munich. October 21, 2017.
Knife-wielding man wounds five people in Munich. October 21, 2017.

VIDEO OF THE DAY
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