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Abbas Insists on Implementing 2017 Reconciliation Agreement

Abbas Insists on Implementing 2017 Reconciliation Agreement

Monday, 22 July, 2019 - 06:45
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Reuters file photo
Ramallah - Kifah Zboun

President Mahmoud Abbas has said that the Palestinian leadership is ready to implement the 2017 reconciliation agreement that was signed in Cairo under Egypt’s sponsorship.

Abbas expressed willingness to end inter-Palestinian division and achieve national unity, “which we desperately need now to face all the challenges and dangers facing the Palestinian cause.”

His remarks were made at the opening speech during Fatah Movement’s Revolutionary Council meetings, referring to the ongoing dispute with Hamas over the reconciliation agreement.

Fatah holds onto the 2017 deal because it requires Hamas to immediately hand over power in the Gaza Strip, including security, border crossings, tax collection, the judiciary and land authority.

However, Hamas insists on the 2011 agreement because it requires the formation of a unity government tasked with holding elections after several months, and gives it the right to intervene in the restructuring of the security services, including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Egypt seeks the gradual implementation of a deal so that the demands of both sides can be met to end division and hand over the Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA), sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“There is a disagreement on handing over the Strip. Hamas claims that the enclave can’t be controlled by a Fatah government,” the sources explained.

They said Fatah has agreed to form a government of national unity but after handing over the Gaza Strip or receiving a written commitment by Hamas to implement the 2011 agreement, which is the main point of contention.

According to the sources, other controversial issues could be settled if differences on arms and the PLO were set aside.

Fatah’s demands for comprehensive empowerment in the Gaza Strip are rejected by Hamas, which demands lifting sanctions on the territory and providing salaries for its military personnel through tax collection there.

The return of talks on the reconciliation process comes about a year after they were frozen due to disagreements on the PA empowerment in the Strip, sanctions and talks over truce with Israel.

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