Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday met with a delegation of Hamas officials in his offices in Ramallah, Yediot Aharonot reported.

Heading the Hamas delegation was former minister Nasser al-Din al-Shaer, the report said.

The rare meeting dealt with inter-Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Hamas officials also congratulated Abbas on his handling of the Temple Mount crisis.

The meeting is surprising given the longstanding feud between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah, which began in 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza in a bloody coup.

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

Since the unity government was dissolved, Hamas and Fatah have held several rounds of reconciliation talks in Doha, Qatar – but with no success.

Fatah recently finally acknowledged that it has no control over Gaza and is now trying to force it to return control of the enclave by creating economic pressure on the group.

Most recently, the PA decided to force more than 6,000 employees in Gaza into early retirement, in its latest attempt to squeeze the Hamas-controlled territory. It later halted salary payments to more than 30 lawmakers affiliated with Hamas.