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Hamas, Fatah pen landmark reconciliation deal in Cairo

Hamas, Fatah pen landmark reconciliation deal in Cairo

Such a move would restore a great deal of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' influence in Gaza while weakening Hamas' control.

"Egypt's involvement and the entry of the PA into Gaza is an opportunity for change, but as long as Hamas remains an armed terrorist organization, Palestinian reconciliation is a legitimacy for Hamas and terrorism rather than a takeover [by the PA]".

Fatah, the more moderate of the two groups, previously controlled Gaza but was ousted by Hamas a decade ago, leaving Palestine split in two.

The meetings in Cairo are centred around implementing the 2011 Cairo Agreement between the two political parties, in hopes of ending the 10-year political schism.

The sides also agreed on handing over the Rafah crossing on the border between Egypt and Gaza to the presidential guard, controlled by the Palestinian administration in the West Bank. A senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, Zakaria al-Agha, said that Abbas "will be in Gaza within less than a month".

The official was referring to the diplomatic Quartet on Middle East peace, which includes the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russian Federation.

Attempts at reconciliation in recent years fell apart. Internal Palestinian strife has been a major obstacle to peacemaking, with Hamas having fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and continuing to call for its destruction.

Al-Ahmed highly appreciated the Egyptian role and keenness to achieve Palestinian reconciliation, stressing that Egypt is the sponsor of the Arab national security, including the Palestinian security.

Last week, Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah visited Gaza for the first time since 2015 and his ministers took formal control of government departments in the territory.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Sissi in NY last month, denounced the reconciliation efforts, saying any future Palestinian government must disband the Hamas terror group's armed wing and sever its ties with Iran.