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Hamas accepts Egyptian proposal for Palestinian reconciliation
Rafah Border Crossing - Photograph: حسام سالم
 

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, officially accepted Egypt’s proposal for Palestinian reconciliation on Thursday.

Haniyeh informed Director of Egypt’s General Intelligence Services (GIS) Abbas Kamel of the Gaza-based movement’s decision, a breakthrough which comes on the heels of the political bureau’s visit to Cairo that ended on Friday.

In comments to Palestinian media on Wednesday, bureau member Moussa Abu Marzouk said that the recent meeting with Egyptian officials was the most fruitful in months, particularly as the proposal for reconciliation included detailed agreements for both Hamas and Fatah.

The same day, member of Fatah’s Central Committee Abbas Zaki told media outlets that the committee would meet to discuss the reconciliation proposal. “We assert that Fatah is comfortable with the role that Egypt plays and will react to the Egyptian vision positively,” he said.

Hamas’ acceptance of the proposal is the latest development in the reconciliation process, in which Egypt has acted as a mediator between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank during recent years.

According to Marzouk, the Egyptian proposal necessitates the lifting of punitive measures imposed on the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip by the Palestinian Authority and lays down the foundation to form a national unity government, to be followed with a general election.

Hamas has accused the Palestinian Authority of cutting electricity subsidies, causing blackouts, cutting government employees’ salaries and restricting passage of medicines into the strip.

Under the reconciliation deal, Hamas would collect taxes on the behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the strip, the judicial authority would be unified under Egypt’s supervision and regular meetings between security committees from both sides would be held, Marzouk told the Palestinian Safa news agency.

Last year saw a breakthrough in the reconciliation process when, in September, Hamas agreed to a number of significant measures, including dissolving its administrative committee in charge of governing Gaza, holding a general election and permitting a unity government to take over, in compliance with PA demands.

Hamas also announced on Wednesday that it was willing to curtail the launching of flaming kites from Gaza toward Israeli settlements, amid a fragile ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

A political source close to Hamas and speaking on condition of anonymity told Mada Masr that the flying of burning kites and balloons carrying explosives into Israel has become less frequent. However, the source added that the Great March of Return protests, which have been ongoing since March 30, will continue.

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