In what appears to be another step in the implementation of the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement, Gaza security forces on Wednesday began leaving Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's house in Gaza City.
Sources close to the issue in Gaza told the PA-based Ma'an news agency that the house, which is located in Tel al-Hawa in western Gaza, will be handed over to a committee representing Abbas.
Iyad al-Bizim, a spokesman for the Gaza ministry of interior, told Ma'an last week that the Gaza government was ready to hand over the houses of Abbas as well as late PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.
According to the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement which was announced at the end of April, Abbas will announce the dates for elections, and Fatah and Hamas will form a unity government.
The agreement aims to bring an end to the longstanding feud between Fatah and Hamas, which began in 2007 when Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup and started cracking down on Fatah officials living in the territory.
Hamas’s Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Wednesday that a 'unity' government between Hamas and Fatah may well be established by the end of May - but only if the Hamas "parliament" approves the move first.
Hamas continues to be adamant over its full control of the new government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that Haniyeh would rule the government.
Hamas representatives have already claimed that the PA's police forces will be integrated into Hamas's police in Gaza, less than a week after co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar angrily denied allowing Hamas to be integrated into the PA side of law enforcement.