Hamas accepts initiative for elections by mid-2020

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announces his organization accepted initiative of eight Palestinian Arab factions to hold elections.

Ben Ariel ,

Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail Haniyeh
Wissam Nassar/Flash 90

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced on Thursday that his organization has accepted the initiative of eight Palestinian Arab factions to hold elections by mid-2020.

"Hamas accepts the responsible and faithful initiative of the factions without any preconditions or amendment," Haniyeh told reporters after a meeting of the Palestinian faction leaders in Gaza, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Haniyeh officially replied to the initiative by the factions in a letter to their leaders.

The initiative was presented earlier this week to Hamas and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, which refused to join.

The initiative considered all reconciliation agreements and understandings signed by the Palestinian factions before as the reference for ending the internal Palestinian division and seeking unity.

The factions called for holding a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the month of October in Cairo. The meeting has to be attended by Abbas.

The initiative said the committee has to agree on a strategy or a political program based on joint principles, and on the formation of a transitional unity government until holding the general comprehensive elections.

It envisions a transitional period from October 2019 to July 2020 to achieve national unity and end the internal division.

The PA parliament has not met since 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of Gaza Fatah.

Fatah and Hamas later signed a reconciliation deal, under which the PA was to have resumed full control of Gaza, but the deal hit “obstacles” and has never been implemented.

Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.

In his speech before the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Abbas renewed a pledge to hold parliamentary elections, though he has made similar promises in the past and has yet to go through with the move.