– Hamas seeks new talks with rivals Fatah

September 17, 2017

This file photo taken on July 03, 2015 shows a Palestinian man waving the green flag of the Islamist movement Hamas during a demonstration outside the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.Image copyright

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Hamas praised mediation efforts by Egypt

The Palestinian militant group Hamas says it is aiming for talks with rivals Fatah as it aims to end their decade-long feud.

In a statement, it said it would dissolve the committee that rules Gaza and seek elections.

After violent clashes between the two factions in 2007, Fatah was driven out of the Gaza Strip.

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

Hamas’s statement said the move came as a direct result of Egyptian negotiations for Palestinian unity, saying it wanted talks “to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and end the division”.

Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, has not yet commented on the moves by Hamas.

But Egyptian reports said a Fatah delegation was in Egypt on Saturday to discuss a possible reconciliation.

The moves were key conditions for reconciliation demanded by Mr Abbas. But Associated Press reported that it is not yet clear whether Hamas is ready to place its security forces under Abbas’s control – a major sticking point in the past.

Hamas as a whole, or in some cases its military wing, is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, EU, UK and other powers.

It has been the ruling authority in Gaza since 2007, when it won the parliamentary elections, defeating the then-ruling Fatah party.

Deadly clashes between Fatah and Hamas erupted in Gaza in June 2007, after which Hamas set up a rival government, leaving Fatah and the Palestinian Authority running parts of the West Bank not under Israeli control.

Since 2007, Israel has maintained a full blockade on Gaza.

In May, Hamas published a new policy document – the first since its founding charter.

It declared for the first time a willingness to accept an interim Palestinian state within pre-1967 boundaries, without recognising Israel.

It also says Hamas’s struggle is not with Jews but with “occupying Zionist aggressors”. The 1988 charter was condemned for its anti-Jewish language.

The text is seen as an effort by Hamas to soften its image.

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