The secretary general of the Palestinian National Reconciliation Committee, Eyad al-Sarraj, has stated that Egypt has agreed to host immediate talks between Hamas and Fatah before they sign the Egyptian proposal.
Sarraj said that this understanding was reached during his committee’s meeting with Egyptian officials, whose delegation was headed by intelligence director Omar Suleiman, the Quds Press reported on Saturday.
The Palestinian official added that he intends to travel to the West Bank in the coming days to meet with the leadership of Fatah to discuss the Egyptian proposal.
Hamas and Fatah have a long-running dispute that has caused real bottlenecks in efforts to mend fences and repair the internal Palestinian divisions. Meanwhile, Egypt has been struggling for months to get the rival Palestinian factions to sign a reconciliation deal. The Cairo proposal aims to lay the groundwork for new presidential and legislative elections.
Ever since Hamas won an outright majority in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, the two factions have had a bitter rivalry featuring sporadic fighting and tit-for-tat arrests. Mutual hostility boiled over in the summer of 2007, when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah.
Since then, Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip, while Fatah has continued to control the West Bank from Ramallah. Further complicating the situation, Israel and Egypt — with the Palestinian Authority’s blessings — have both sealed their borders with the Gaza Strip, effectively cutting off the coastal enclave from the rest of the world.