Fatah welcomes Hamas pledge to end Palestinian split

Fatah welcomes Hamas pledge to end Palestinian split

Fatah welcomes Hamas pledge to end Palestinian split

The Islamic Resistance Movement a.k.a. Hamas on Sunday announced the dissolution of its Administrative Committee that has been ruling the Gaza Strip, and called for a reconciliation government to carry out its duties in the strip, to hold elections and enter talks with the PLO, Ma'an reported.

Deadly clashes between Fatah and Hamas erupted in Gaza in June 2007, after which Hamas set up a rival government, leaving Fatah and the Palestinian Authority running parts of the West Bank not under Israeli control.

In July this year it emerged Gaza's Hamas movement was seeking a rapprochement with the Palestinian leader once regarded as its greatest enemy, as the Islamist group faces unprecedented challenges from all sides.

It also expressed its willingness to accept Egypt's offer for talks with Fatah in order to implement the Cairo Agreement, signed in 2011, that lays down guidelines for reconciliation.

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In a statement, it said it would dissolve the committee that rules Gaza and seek elections.

Hamas has been weakened by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, three wars with Israel and worldwide isolation.

The move also comes after a series of Palestinian Authority measures created to pressure Hamas, including reduction of electricity in Gaza and cutting of salaries.

It added that it had chose to make the announcement in response to Egyptian efforts to achieve reconciliation and end internal Palestinian divisions.

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Punishing measures included reducing electricity payments for the Gaza strip and cutting salaries for civil servants there.

Egypt recently invited top Hamas officials to Cairo for reconciliation discussions, and last week, Abbas sent a delegation of representatives to Egypt as well.

Still, it's not clear whether Hamas will brush away a formidable obstacle to reconciliation by putting its security forces under Abbas's control.

The Gaza Strip, a coastal enclave of some two million people, has faced deteriorating humanitarian conditions, with a severe electricity crisis and a lack of clean water, among other issues.

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United Nations officials have urged Israel to lift its decade-long blockade of Gaza.

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