Saturday, September 25, 2021

Key points of Palestinian unity agreement


GAZA CITY: The two major Palestinian factions reached a unity agreement on Thursday after Egyptian mediation.

Hamas and the Fatah party have ruled over separate territories since a near civil war in 2007.

Here are key points of the agreement and what remains unaddressed:

– The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank, will resume full control of Gaza by December 1 at the latest.

The PA was kicked out of Gaza in 2007 but last month Hamas agreed to hand over civilian power.

– All the major Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, will meet in Cairo on November 21 for discussions about forming a unity government.

– The border crossings from Gaza with Israel and Egypt will be handed back to the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks, with a November 1 deadline, according to the Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed. The crossing with Egypt may require more time for the handover.

– Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will visit Gaza for the first time in a decade in the coming weeks, according to an official from his party.

– The issue of tens of thousands of civil servants employed by Hamas will be solved by February 2018, according to Hamas’s Al-Aqsa television.

– Punitive measures taken by the PA against Gaza, including reductions in energy payments for the strip, are expected to be relieved.

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Still to be resolved

– The future of Hamas’s 25,000-strong military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, was not mentioned in any of the public statements or documents.

Israel has said it will reject any agreement in which Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, does not disarm, as has the United States.

– Recognition of Israel was also not mentioned. The Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation has recognised Israel, while Hamas has not.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, and Western diplomats say they could not accept any government of which Hamas is a part unless it recognises Israel.

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