Fatah, Hamas Reach Comprehensive Agreement on Gaza Affairs

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reached a “comprehensive” agreement Thursday for the return of their unity government in Gaza after two days of talks in Cairo, negotiators from both sides said.

Egyptian sources told Ma’an that the two movements had been able to reach an agreement on a number of major points of contention, including the Palestinian Authority take over of the crossing into Egypt at Rafah and the adjacent Philadelphia corridor along the border.

In addition, the sources said that agreement had been reached on the issues of activating the Palestinian Authority’s rule and authority in Gaza, the payment of former Hamas employees’ salaries, and making decisions related to war and peace.

The Egyptian side led by minister of Egyptian intelligence services Muhammad Tuhami, told all parties that the ongoing Palestinian disputes will “carry away the fate of the indirect talks with Israel” and that quick solutions must be reached to unite Palestinians.

Sources added that the agreement will be announced in a press conference later Thursday and will conclude all the terms that were agreed upon.

The Palestinian rival movements set up a unity government of independents in June but it never took hold amid intense Israeli pressure, including a massive arrest campaign across the West Bank that left hundreds of Hamas members languishing in jail as well as the more than 5-day assault on Gaza that left more than 2,000 dead.

In recent weeks, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of running a “parallel” administration as de facto ruler in the Gaza Strip, while Hamas in turn accused Abbas of neglecting Gaza and of not paying its 45,000 employees in Gaza.

(Ma’an and Agencies – www.maannews.net)

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