PA factions to meet in Cairo

Palestinian political factions to gather in Cairo to push ahead with reconciliation efforts.

Ben Ariel ,

Rami Hamdallah and Ismail Haniyeh (archive)
Rami Hamdallah and Ismail Haniyeh (archive)

Leading Palestinian political factions will gather on Tuesday in Cairo to push ahead with reconciliation efforts, despite fundamental disputes ahead of a key December 1 deadline, AFP reported Sunday.

Tensions between the two largest groups -- Fatah and Hamas -- have reemerged since they signed a reconciliation deal last month, but delegates hope the meeting of 13 factions could push the bid ahead.

Under the agreement between Hamas and Fatah, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is to resume full control of Hamas-controlled Gaza by December 1.

The PA has since assumed control of Gaza’s border crossings but there are still disagreements, particularly over the fate of Hamas's armed wing.

PA leader Rami Hamdallah recently suggested the PA needed full security control of Gaza before further steps could be taken.

Hamas rejected that, accusing Hamdallah of seeking to change the terms of the agreement, according to AFP.

Tuesday's will bring together 13 factions in addition to Hamas and Fatah. Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said the talks could last until Thursday.

"I think this meeting will be a huge step towards the removal of all the obstacles to reconciliation, which is supported by everyone," he told AFP.

One of those obstacles is the presence of armed terrorists in Gaza. PA chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that the armed militias in Gaza disarm as part of the implementation of the agreement. Hamas rejects the demand.

Bassem Naim, a top Hamas official, Sunday said it was impossible for them to consider giving up their weapons.

"I think no Palestinian here can accept this model as a model for the security we are looking for," he told AFP in Gaza.

Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist group by both Israel and the U.S. Since the agreement was signed, Hamas has sent a high-ranking delegation to Iran, where its deputy leader, sanctioned terrorist Salah Al-Aruri, declared that the group would never agree to sever its ties with Iran and give up the armed struggle against “the Zionist regime”.

The move was in blatant disregard of Israel's demand that Hamas recognize Israel, disarm, and sever its ties with Iran before Israel negotiates with the PA unity government.