Fatah-Hamas talks hit a snag

Hamas refuses to hand over Gaza land authority to Fatah, rejects the demand to dismantle the militias.

Dalit Halevi ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Saeb Nazif, head of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) Land Authority, said on Thursday that he and his staff had returned from Gaza to Ramallah because the head of the Hamas-appointed land authority, Kamal Abu Madi, insisted on remaining in his post.

In an interview with the PA's Wafa news agency, Nazif said that he had traveled to Gaza in accordance with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas's instructions to unify the Palestinian institutions between the two parts of the "homeland." He noted that he was surprised by the refusal of the Hamas leader to cooperate with him and hand over land authority to the Ramallah-based PA.

Nazif said he updated the PA leadership on the developments and expressed hope that this problem would be resolved through the intervention of the officials responsible for dealing with the issue of reconciliation.

"We regret that these developments are taking place and thwarting the efforts to allow the national consensus government to operate in the Gaza Strip, and we are making it clear that the refusal to hand over powers contradicts the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo between Egypt and Fatah," he stressed.

Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas recently signed a reconciliation agreement aimed at ending a decade of hostilities which began when Hamas violently took control of Gaza in 2007.

Under the reconciliation agreement signed between the sides, the PA is to resume full control of Hamas-controlled Gaza by December 1.

Despite the deal, there is an ongoing dispute between Fatah and Hamas over the dismantling of the armed groups in Gaza.

Abbas has ruled out the presence of militias in Gaza, while Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other organizations reject this demand.