Abbas to visit Gaza within a month for Palestinian unity bid
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Abbas to visit Gaza within a month for Palestinian unity bid

PA president has not been to the enclave since his Fatah party was pushed out by the Hamas terrorist group in 2007

A Palestinian shop owner displays national flags and a poster bearing the portraits of Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah and leader Mahmoud Abbas on October 1, 2017, in Gaza city. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
A Palestinian shop owner displays national flags and a poster bearing the portraits of Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah and leader Mahmoud Abbas on October 1, 2017, in Gaza city. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Gaza for the first time in a decade within a month, a top official in his Fatah party said on Thursday, after reconciliation talks with rivals Hamas.

Abbas “will be in Gaza within less than a month,” Zakaria al-Agha, a senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, told AFP after a breakthrough in talks between the two sides in Cairo.

Abbas has not visited the enclave since his forces were pushed out in 2007 by the Hamas terrorist organization, which has controlled it ever since.

Earlier on Thursday, the two sides announced they had reached agreement on aspects of their decade-long split during talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo.

Details of the agreement have not yet been released and a press conference was expected later Thursday in the Egyptian capital.

One of the key issues has been punitive measures taken by Abbas against Gaza in recent months, including reducing electricity payments that left the territory’s residents with only a few hours of power a day.

Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniyeh (C-R) meets with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Khalid Fawzi at the latter’s office in Gaza City on October 3, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

“All the measures taken recently will end very shortly,” Agha added.

Since the near civil war in 2007, the two Palestinian factions have been at loggerheads — complicating any potential peace talks with Israel.

Multiple previous reconciliation talks have failed.

Last month, Hamas agreed to cede civil power in Gaza but the fate of its vast military wing is a significant stumbling block and the terrorist group remains effectively in charge in the enclave.

There was no indication Thursday that Hamas, a terrorist group dedicated to the elimination of Israel, is prepared to disarm, previously a key precondition for Abbas.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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