Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas (archive)
Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas (archive)Reuters

A senior Hamas official announced that a new round of Palestinian Arab dialogue for inter-factional reconciliation would be held in Algeria at the end of December, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Khalil Al-Hayya, deputy chief of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, made the remarks during a conference on Saturday on ending internal division, which was held simultaneously in Gaza and Ramallah.

"Algeria will host a new session of the national dialogue for the Palestinian factions at the end of December to resume the Palestinian efforts for achieving reconciliation and end the internal division," he was quoted by a Hamas statement as saying.

Al-Hayya added that Hamas wants to restore national unity, not based on the needs of the residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, but rather on a program and vision of resistance that stems from being a liberation movement that wants to end the division.

"There is a need for a Palestinian vision capable of achieving the right of return and liberation of the occupied lands and how to lead this activity," he said, adding that all factions are partners, and the homeland is not preserved by any party."

In October, Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal in Algiers, vowing to hold elections by next year in their latest attempt to end a rift that has now lasted more than 15 years.

The deal was signed by a leading figure from the Fatah Party of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and by the chief of Hamas, which rules Gaza. Abbas himself was not present.

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza in a bloody coup, and all attempts to reconcile the sides have failed.

A unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed in 2015 when Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in October of 2017, as part of which Hamas was to transfer power in Gaza by December 1 of that year.

That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and later reportedly hit “obstacles”. It has never been implemented.

PA elections were scheduled for last year, but Abbas officially announced that they would be postponed. While he cited Israel’s refusal to allow Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote as the reason for the postponement, many believe that the real reason is Abbas’ fear that he would lose the elections to Hamas.

The PA has continuously demanded that Israel permit Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote in the elections. In this regard, PA officials worked in the international arena in an attempt to get Israel to agree to this demand.