Official: PLO Delegation Preparing to Head to Gaza if Talks Go Well

A PLO delegation hopes to head to Gaza soon in order to work on implementing potential “solutions” to the reconstruction crisis facing the besieged coastal enclave, a Fatah official said Wednesday.

Fatah leader Yahya Rabbah told Ma’an that the delegation is ready to travel but is awaiting the results of a meeting between Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad and Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouq which is scheduled to take place in Cairo soon.

Rabbah said that he feared, however, that the results of the meeting may be negative, as “there has been no serious review by Hamas” in his opinion.

He added that reconciliation is vitally important for the Palestinian people despite recurring “negative signs,” and that he hopes that the delegation would be able to surpass previous delegations by achieving “real” results and removing all obstacles facing reconciliation.

Rabbah called upon Hamas to “prepare the atmosphere” and give the unity government full power in the Gaza Strip, a move that he said could help lessen the problems facing Gaza as a result of Israel’s continuing blockade.

Although the leading Palestinian political parties signed a unity government in April that ended seven years of political division, the government has yet to take full control in the besieged Gaza Strip, which is dominated by Hamas.

Critics say Israel has repeatedly sought to undermine the deal including through a massive arrest campaign targeting Hamas members across the West Bank over summer as well as the 50-day assault on Gaza in July and August that killed more than 2,000.

Recent months have been plagued by tension and controversy between the groups as well, with a series of explosions targeting the property of Fatah leaders in Gaza and growing anger over the government’s failure to pressure Israel to fulfill its promises in the August ceasefire deal to allow reconstruction material into the war-ravaged enclave.

Hamas and Fatah have also yet to agree on a solution to pay employees of the former Hamas-run government in the Strip who had gone without salaries for months before the unity deal, and their future as paid employees is still unclear as tens of thousands of other employees paid by the PLO who worked prior to the division could potentially return and replace them.

The political division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2007, a year after Hamas won legislative elections across the Palestinian territories but was subjected to a boycott by Israel and Western countries that left the economy in a fragile state.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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