Hamas and Fatah leaders (archive)
Hamas and Fatah leaders (archive)Flash 90

A second round of reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas, attended by representatives of other Palestinian Arab organizations, began in Cairo on Tuesday.

The talks are based on the general understandings reached in October between the two organizations, in the wake of which Hamas dismantled the Gaza Executive Committee and allowed the Palestinian Authority (PA) government in Ramallah to receive authority over Gaza.

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.

In a recorded message posted to YouTube, Hamas leader Salah Bardawil revealed that on the first day of the talks, a substantive disagreement has emerged between Fatah and Hamas.

Bardawil noted that Fatah representatives would only agree to discuss in this round of talks the implementation of the government's authority in Gaza, and viewed the exercise of its powers in Gaza as a precondition for discussing the other issues agreed upon in a previous reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo in 2011.

According to Bardawil, Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations reject Fatah's position and demand that all the issues of the 2011 reconciliation agreement, including reforms and elections in the PLO and PA institutions, be discussed. He added that there is no connection between the functioning of the government in Gaza and a discussion of the other topics.

Hamas has long been interested in joining the PLO institutions in order to gain control of the organization from within through elections, thus winning the power of representation of the Palestinian Arab people and achieving international recognition of Hamas as the legitimate governing authority in the “state of Palestine.”