Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met with a delegation of Hamas deputies of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on Monday to discuss ways to end the decade-long political rivalry between the Hamas movement, the de facto ruling party in the blockaded Gaza Strip, and the Fatah-led PA in the occupied West Bank.
Hamdallah reiterated the PA’s demand that Hamas accept its terms for any possible reconciliation: ending the Hamas-run administrative committee in Gaza, relinquishing control of the besieged coastal territory to the PA, and holding presidential and legislative elections.
Hamdallah said that all Palestinians should remain united against Israeli violations against Palestinians and their holy sites.
Numerous attempts have been made in the past to reconcile Hamas and Fatah since they came into violent conflict in 2007, shortly after Hamas’ 2006 victory in general elections held in the Gaza Strip.
However, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliations, as both movements have blamed each other for numerous political failures.
The PA itself has been the focus of fierce condemnation in recent months after being accused of deliberately sending the impoverished Gaza Strip further into a humanitarian catastrophe — by slashing funding for Israeli fuel, medicine, and salaries for civil servants and former prisoners — in order to wrestle control of the territory from Hamas.
Hamas authorities have also been accused of withholding funds collected in Gaza from the PA, as well as targeting Fatah officials in Gaza through detentions and restricting their freedom of movement.
Earlier this month, the Hamas movement announced its readiness to do away with its administrative committee in Gaza, should the PA retract all punitive measures imposed on the besieged coastal enclave in recent months.
However, Abbas said in a speech days later that the PA would continue to reduce financial support to the Gaza Strip as long as the Hamas movement did not stick to the PA-mandated terms of reconciliation.