Tabnak – In line with its latest attempts to be introduced as a political movement rather than an armed resistance one, Palestinian Hamas movement has reached a deal with rival Fatah over the control of Gaza. The details of the agreement are expected to be finalized soon.
According to the Egyptian newspaper Ahram Online, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have reached a political reconciliation agreement after two days of Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo. The agreement was announced by Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in a statement.
"Fatah and Hamas reached an agreement at dawn today under generous Egyptian sponsorship," Haniyeh said in a statement on Hamas’ official website.
The details of the deal are expected to be announced at an afternoon press conference in the Egyptian capital. But a source close to the negotiations told Ahram Online that a meeting between the two factions will be held within a month to prepare for presidential and legislative elections.
In the same vein, Zakaria al-Agha, a top Fatah official in Gaza, told AFP that President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) would visit the coastal enclave in "less than a month,” for the first time since 2007.
In a phone interview with AFP, Abbas welcomed the deal and called it a "final agreement” to end the division. "I received a detailed report from the Fatah delegation about what was agreed and I considered it the final agreement to end the division,” he said, adding that he gave orders to Fatah delegates to sign the deal immediately.
According to BBC, the latest deal is believed to cover security, administrative and border crossing arrangements in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been ruled separately since deadly clashes between the two groups broke out in 2007.
While the full details of Thursday's agreement have yet to be announced, negotiators from both groups said that the security changes include the handing over of control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt to a unity government.
Hamas also agreed to hand all administrative responsibilities in the Gaza Strip to the Fatah-backed government by December, according to an official statement released by Egypt. Both sides have so far called the agreement a major breakthrough.
Gaza, which sits on the Mediterranean coast and is fenced in by heavily-patrolled barriers on three sides bordering Israel and Egypt, has been a frequent battleground over the past decade, during which Hamas has fought three wars with Israel.
Previous reconciliation attempts by the two sides to form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have failed. In September, however, Hamas said it had accepted key reconciliation conditions offered by Abbas and underlined its "desire to achieve national unity.”
The Cairo negotiations are taking place within the framework of a 2011 agreement between the two sides, under which 3,000 Fatah security officers would join a Gaza police force over the course of a year.