PA's Abbas and Hamas's Haniyeh meet, Feb 2012
PA's Abbas and Hamas's Haniyeh meet, Feb 2012 Flash90

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh issued a statement from Gaza Monday encouraging a reconciliation with Fatah. 

Haniyeh revealed in a press conference that Hamas would welcome any former Gazans who fled the terror-stricken territory in 2007, when the terror organization aggressively took over the government.

The only exceptions would be to those Palestinian Arabs who still had outstanding criminal records, or accusations of working against the government, according to Haniyeh. The move specifically was enacted to allow Fatah parliament members to visit their relatives living in Gaza. 

In addition, Hamas's Interior Ministry declared that it would pardon prisoners associated with Fatah who have been held for crimes against the Hamas government, according to Haniyeh. Haniyeh called the move a "confidence-building measure" that would lead to a reconciliation. 

"We are more than willing to end the schism," Haniyeh stated, "and we emphasize that reconciliation will be achieved under Egyptian supervision."

Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo in 2011, pledging to set up an interim consensus government of independents that would pave the way for legislative and presidential elections within 12 months.

Implementation of the accord stalled over the make-up of the interim government, and a February 2012 deal signed by Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha intended to overcome outstanding differences was opposed by Hamas members in Gaza.