Palestinian rivals declare three stages to end decade-long split

MOHAMMED ABED

Egypt is overseeing the effort to bring the two factions together and the parties are scheduled to hold talks in Cairo next week on the details of the unity bid.

Sitting in his garden in Gaza City, Yasser al Kurdi hopes for a change. For the past decade, he has not been able to work. But what started out as a temporary move has now been in place for ten years. He was accompanied by a large delegation of Fatah officials from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, dozens of aides and armed bodyguards. This has made the territory nearly impossible to run, as well as causing a great deal of suffering for the people of Gaza themselves.

They suffer from desperate shortages of electricity and high unemployment. "But of course, long term political issues also need to be addressed".

Hamas ousted the PA in 2007, but recently agreed to dissolve what has been seen as its rival administration and make way for a unity government. Hamas seized control of Gaza from the PA in 2007. The government will try to manage the Gaza Strip, which was under Hamas control for more than 10 years. "We await the first steps on the ground".

In an interview with Egyptian television on Monday, PA President Abbas made clear again his position that no entity other than the PA government and its security services must be allowed to possess weapons.

Mr Hamdallah later met Hamas political leader Ismail Haniya and its Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar.

Fatah and Hamas are trying to reach a final deal on reconciliation in Gaza.

A statement by President Abbas that included a comparison between Hezbollah and Hamas Military wing in the Gaza Strip has caused widespread confusion in the past few hours as Abbas said he would not accept any "illegal" weapons. He called for reconciliation to overcome narrow party differences, saying the only beneficiary of the division is the Israeli occupation.

Since 2006 after the massive victory of Hamas in Gaza elections, Hamas and Fatah have been at odds.

"The United States welcomes efforts to create the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to fully assume its responsibilities in Gaza", stated Greenblatt.

In May, Israel expanded the Gaza fishing zone to nine nautical miles, as opposed to six nautical miles.

TRT World's Nicole Johnston has more. Until now, the passage has only opened for two or three days per month, with thousands of people on a waiting list to leave the Gaza Strip.

For its part, Hamas has repeatedly rejected all calls for it to turn over its weapons.

"We understand that returning official institutions to their legitimate and legal framework and ending all the impacts of division will require exhausting efforts and a lot of patience, of time and of wisdom".

Officials on both sides said the more hard issues will be addressed at the upcoming talks in Cairo. "It really feels like this is the last chance".

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