Palestinian Prime Minister Heads To Gaza As Reconciliation Push

Palestinian PM arrives in Gaza first visit since 2015

"They are hopeful that this step will alleviate the hard economic situation in Gaza, the border crossings will be open more often, the issue of PA employees will be solved, and that electricity [will] be returned", Modallal told Al Jazeera.

Asked whether the United States would accept reconciliation between Hamas and the PA, Mladenov said it was too early for such discussions. They included cutting money the Palestinian Authority was paying to Israel for Gaza's electricity, limiting power for residents of the impoverished strip to about three hours a day in the middle of stifling summer heat. But they also paved the way for a bitter showdown over worldwide demands that Hamas surrender its weapons and recognize Israel's right to exist as part of a peace agreement.

After a Hamas delegation met with Egyptian diplomats in Cairo late last month, the movement decided it would dissolve its administrative committee and expressed its willingness to reconcile with its rival, the Fatah political party, after a decade of division.

Speaking to reporters, one of the freed inmates, Taher Abu Armana, thanked Hamas Gaza chief Yehya Al-Sinwar and Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah security chief in the enclave, for his release.

On Saturday evening, Haniyeh released a statement saying, "The reconciliation is a will and a decision, to prevent Israel from swallowing up the West Bank and continuing its siege of the Gaza Strip".

Hamas accepted the deal and invited Hamdallah to take control of government functions in Gaza after a series of punishing sanctions Abbas imposed.




Abdullah Abdullah, a legislator who supports Abbas, said: "There is a good chance it will work".

Despite the rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah, a number of issues are yet to be resolved.

In this respect, Eisen believes that there is "no chance whatsoever [that Hamas will agree to disarm]". "Hizbullah had a few cards that Hamas does not have right now", Eisen explained. Hamas is starting from a point of weakness, but there are potentially parallels.

Abbas also cut wages to civil servants still on the unity government's payroll, a move that deepened economic hardship in an area long under partial blockade by Israel and Egypt, which cite security concerns for border restrictions.

Lastly, should Israel disapprove of any eventual intra-Palestinian accord, which according to Eisen is probable, it would make it exceedingly hard for any party to convince Jerusalem to make concessions to an entity that could be taken over-or, at the very least, significantly influenced-by Hamas, which remains ideologically committed to the Jewish state's destruction.

Hamas' reversal was the most significant step towards Palestinian unity since the government was formed in 2014. "Already, for example, the Hamas shadow government has been disbanded". But we are determined to tackle every issue and solve it in the best interest of our national cause.

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