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Fatah Agrees to Release All Hamas Prisoners

Hamas-Fatah reconciliation takes a step forward, despite sharp rhetoric. But will it last?
By Dalit Halevi and Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/9/2014, 3:00 PM

Prison (illustrative)
Prison (illustrative)
Flash90

Reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is apparently going well, despite the sharp rhetoric flying between the two groups, after Fatah agreed to release all Hamas terrorists in Palestinian Authority (PA) prisons as part of the deal. 

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in an interview with Palestine newspaper on Friday that Fatah had agreed to release all Hamas terrorists from prison - regardless of their crimes or current political affiliation. 

Meanwhile, Hamas has allegedly jumped on board as well - allowing journalists from Fatah-backed papers Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam to enter Gaza and releasing Fatah prisoners held in Gaza over their own political affiliations. 

Earlier this week, Iyad al-Bazim, spokesman for the Gaza Interior Ministry, told Ma'an that six PA-based prisoners had been released, and had received a pardon from Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as part of the April 23 PLO-Hamas unity dealThe six were convicted of various felonies, al-Bazim said, without elaborating.

The sudden show of cooperation strongly contrasts with heightened rhetoric between top officials in Fatah and Hamas, who each declared that the other would not be party to a "unity" government between the two.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas insisted late Thursday night that Hamas will not be part of an interim government at all; Hamas continues to be adamant over its full control of a "unity" government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government.