Hamas leader backs new Egypt-brokered Palestinian unity push
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Hamas leader backs new Egypt-brokered Palestinian unity push

Haniyeh speaks with Egypt’s intelligence head Abbas Kamel about reconciliation with Abbas’s Fatah, and Gaza humanitarian crisis

Former Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya speaks in the presence of the new leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, during the opening of a new mosque in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 24, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)
Former Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya speaks in the presence of the new leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, during the opening of a new mosque in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 24, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)

The head of terror group Hamas announced his backing Thursday for a new Egyptian-led push for reconciliation with the rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

The office of Ismail Haniyeh said the leader had spoken with Egypt’s intelligence head Abbas Kamel to inform him of his organization’s backing for a fresh Egyptian-brokered push.

A statement from the movement said the two men discussed the “latest developments in the Palestinian issue and especially the reconciliation and humanitarian projects for the people of the Gaza Strip.”

Haniyeh’s deputy Saleh al-Arouri led a delegation to Cairo last week.

Fatah has not officially responded to the latest push.

Repeated attempts at reconciliation between the rival parties, including some mediated by Egypt, have so far failed to produce an agreement.

In October 2017, after a decade of strife stemming from Hamas’s violent 2007 takeover of the Gaza Strip, the group and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo in which they pledged to set aside their differences and pave the way for Palestinian unity. However, the two rival parties have since failed to reach understandings on the implementation of the deal, and continue to hold each other responsible for its failure.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, June 27, 2018. (Alaa Badarneh/Pool Photo via AP)

Abbas has accused Hamas of failing to hand full control of the Gaza Strip over to his Ramallah-based government. He has also threatened to impose new sanctions on Hamas unless it complies with his demands. Hamas, for its part, has accused Abbas of failing to lift sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip last year, including suspending payments to thousands of civil servants. Hamas has also rejected Abbas’s demand to allow his security forces to deploy in the Gaza Strip.

In March the head of the Fatah-dominated West Bank government survived a roadside bomb hitting his convoy in a rare visit to Gaza, with his allies later accusing Hamas of planning the attack.

Hamas, in return, claimed the bombing may have been orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority security force as part of a scheme to implicate Hamas and justify further PA sanctions against the Gaza Strip

The United Nations has signaled its support for a fresh reconciliation push, but diplomats have little optimism.

On Sunday, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov, pledged his support for reconciliation.

“You cannot have a Palestinian state without Gaza, and you cannot have a Palestinian state only in Gaza,” he said.

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