Rival Palestinian Groups Hamas, Fatah Reach Deal Over Control Of Gaza

Unity deal offers hope for Palestinians

Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Saturday welcomed the reconciliation agreement signed between rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.

Bennet will demand the cancellation of all agreements signed with the Palestinian Authority, including the abolition of the construction of a new residential neighborhood on the outskirts of Ramallah and the establishment of industrial zone in Tarqumia.

Hamas, which controls Gaza and has fought Israel three times, said it was ready to cede control of Gaza's borders and allow the rival Palestinian Authority to take over the day-to-day running of the territory.

For the Palestinian leadership, it held out the prospect of negotiating with Israel with a single voice, even as it forced the divided territory's most radical militants to make painful concessions that acknowledged their own failure to advance their cause. But instead, the global community should have tried to "pull Hamas into a dialogue", Blair said in an interview for Donald Macintyre's "Gaza: Preparing for Dawn", which is set to be released in November.

Attempts at reconciliation in recent years fell apart.

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

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This has led to a partnership between Israel and the PA's security services, which also benefit from foiling Hamas's terror efforts in the West Bank.

The figure is a fraction of the number of police officers employed by Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip.

Over the last few months, the PA measures against Gaza, aimed at compelling Hamas to relinquish control of the strip, seem to have made the Islamic movement buckle under the pressure. Abbas has said he would not take over Gaza until Hamas gave up its weapons. One of the key sticking points will be the fate of Hamas's 25,000-strong military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades. It will see the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza operated by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guards by November 1.

Israeli site Haaretz quoted a Palestinian source as saying that both sides were keen to avoid undermining the deal, which came following years of tensions after Hamas' 2007 takeover of control in Gaza.

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.

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