Hamas to Allow Redistribution of Banned Newspaper

Hamas will allow the redistribution of a West Bank based newspaper in the Gaza Strip on Monday, seven years after it was banned, a Hamas official said.

Gaza government spokesman Ihab al-Ghussein confirmed to Ma’an that the daily Al-Quds newspaper will be available again in the Gaza Strip.

The redistribution of factional media was demanded by the public freedoms committee, one of several subcommittees tasked with monitoring the implementation of a recent unity deal between Palestinian political factions.

Since 2007, the Hamas government has banned the distribution of the Al-Quds newspaper, the most widely read Palestinian daily broadsheet, Al-Ayyam, which is generally pro-Fatah, and Al-Hayat al-Jadida, which is an official paper of the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority has banned the distribution of the Hamas-affiliated Gaza newspapers Al-Risalah, Palestine and al-Istiqlal.

Al-Ghussein added that Hamas would release a number of political detainees in the coming days.

On Sunday, Abd al-Salam Siyam, secretary-general of the Gaza government’s cabinet, said in a statement that some 3,000 PA security officers would be sent to Gaza to begin implementing the Hamas-PLO unity deal reached on April 23.

The officers worked in Gaza before the PA left the coastal enclave in 2007.

The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections.

In the following year, clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.

The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements — one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha — which have as of yet been unimplemented.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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