Hamas Capitulates under PA Repression, Dissolves Government, Announces Elections

MAHMUD HAMS

Hamas has agreed to talks with the rival Fatah movement and expressed its willingness to hold general elections in the Palestinian territories.

Hamas on Sunday announced Sunday it agreed to dissolve its governing body in the Gaza Strip and allow the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority government take over. Hamas and Fatah even waged a short civil war in Gaza in 2007 and ever since, Hamas has controlled Gaza.

The Palestinians have been divided between two rival governments since 2007, when Hamas drove Abbas' forces out of the Gaza Strip, leaving the president in control only of autonomous areas of the West Bank. Hamas had turned to Egypt for assistance, which, in turn, has put pressure on it to reconcile with Palestine.

Hamas said in statement that it wants the rival Fatah to return to Gaza and conduct nationwide elections, which haven't been held since 2006.

Nasser Nasser

The unity government was formed in the summer of 2014 during Israel's assault on the beseiged enclave, but has been inactive since.

Fatah is commending today (Sunday) Hamas's plan to hold an election in an attempt to reach an internal Palestinian reconciliation.

The announcement also came two days after a Fatah delegation arrived in Cairo and two meetings between the parties on Saturday. 'If this is Hamas statement, then this is a positive sign, ' he told Reuters.

"The Hamas movement is prepared to overcome all of the obstacles together with the Egyptians in order to achieve the Palestinian people's aspirations through the reconciliation and unity".

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Mahmoud Aloul, a senior Fatah official welcomed cautiously Hamas' position.

Hamas had previously demanded that Abbas halt a series of measures taken against Gaza before sitting down to discuss a reconciliation deal.

Abbas, now in NY for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, has yet to comment on Hamas's announcement.

In May, Hamas released a new policy document, officially accepting for the first time the idea of a Palestinian state that would fall within 1967 borders, but refusing to recognize Israel and rejecting calls to give up its armed fight against Israel.

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'The administrative committee is now dissolved and the government can come to Gaza today to assume its responsibilities and duties, ' he added.

However, Bjorn was skeptical if Hamas's announcement on Sunday would lead to a full-fledged reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

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