Palestinians in major reconciliation effort
7 October, 2017
The Palestinian prime minister led a delegation from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip on 2 October for talks with Hamas in the most ambitious attempt to reconcile the rival political factions since the Islamic militant group seized control over the coastal enclave a decade ago. Rami Hamdallah crossed the border with dozens of ministers and officials.
“The only way to statehood is through unity,” Hamdallah said, speaking at a welcome ceremony. “The government began to exercise its roles in Gaza from today,” he added at a press conference at the crossing. Hundreds lined the streets to greet him.
Several factors appear to be working in favour of reconciliation. Hamas’ new leader, Yehiyeh Sinwar, has expressed a willingness to yield most power to Abbas, preferring to return to his group’s roots as an armed “resistance” movement. And perhaps most critically, Hamas has improved relations with the Egyptian government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. In a sign of these improved ties, Egypt has sent a delegation to Gaza to help mediate talks, and it will play host to continued negotiations in the coming weeks.