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Abbas: Time to Reconcile with Hamas

PA chairman Abbas says it's time to seal a reconciliation with the Hamas terror group.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/5/2012, 6:12 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
AFP photo

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday it was time to seal a reconciliation with the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza, AFP reported.

"It is time to seriously deal with reconciliation and for contacts with Egypt's mediation for a reconciliation," Abbas was quoted as having said at a meeting of the PA leadership attended by Nassereddine al-Shaer, a Hamas deputy premier.

"We hope to agree on a meeting and a meeting of the leadership in Egypt in order to finish with this question which has gone on for too long," Abbas, who heads the rival Fatah party, said, according to AFP.

Hamas-Fatah tensions have been high since 2006, when the terror group won the legislative elections in the PA. Hamas seized power in Gaza in a bloody coup the following year.

The parties attempted to resolve the feud between them when they signed a reconciliation deal in May of 2011. The deal has repeatedly faltered as the parties spar over its implementation.

During Israel’s recent Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, the two factions appeared to be getting closer, announcing they have decided to end infighting. The Palestinian Authority later announced it will release Hamas-affiliated detainees as a goodwill gesture to boost reconciliation efforts.

The two sides seemed to be getting even closer when Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal later told Abbas that his internationally recognized terror organization supports the PA’s bid for enhanced United Nations status.

Hamas had previously expressed its opposition to the PA’s unilateral move. The terror group welcomed the UN decision to approve the bid, calling it “a new victory on the road to the liberation of Palestine”.