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Hamas says it accepts reconciliation demands

17 September 2017

In a statement issued on Sunday, Hamas said it has accepted key conditions set by President Mahmoud Abbas, and would dissolve what is known as the Gaza administrative committee, a body seen as a parallel government to Abbas' Palestinian Authority.

Egypt recently invited top Hamas officials to Cairo for reconciliation discussions, and last week, Abbas sent a delegation of representatives to Egypt as well.

Paving the way for possible reconciliation between the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas said Sunday it would dissolve the Gaza administrative committee, allowing a unity government to work in its place and agree on general elections.

In its statement, Hamas said that it meets " generous efforts of egyptians, which reflect desire of egypt to end division and achieve reconciliation" and talks about his " desire to achieve national unity ".

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The announcement followed indirect negotiations between Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas in Cairo.

The formation of Hamas committee, which was considered by Abbas as a shadow government, caused Abbas' tight unprecedented measures against the Gaza Strip, such as reducing 30 percent of the employee salaries, stop paying for electricity services and sending 7,000 employees to early retirement.

The failure was due to deep differences on handing security control to the Palestinian Authority, where the two sides kept trading accusations on who is the party that hinders and blocks the implementation of the agreement until April 2014.

Last Tuesday, Fatah Central Committee Member Azzam al-Ahmad, who is now leading the Fatah delegation in Cairo, said if Hamas disbands its administrative committee, Abbas would lift its punitive measures against it.

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Bjorn Brenner, the author of Gaza Under Hamas, said that Hamas agreed to disband its administrative committee because it has come under the pressure to deliver to the people of Gaza.

Attempts by the groups to form a unity government in Gaza and the West Bank since then have failed.

"This puts Abu Mazen and Fatah to the real test", Barhoum said in a statement on Hamas's official website. It also represents Hamas' aspiration to get a seat at the table should President Donald Trump's efforts at restoring the "peace process" with Israel succeed.

"Hamas wants to improve the situation in Gaza, but it doesn't want to give up control of it", Bjorn said.

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Officials also said more information was needed before considering it a done deal.

Hamas says it accepts reconciliation demands