Cairo sessions with Hamas result in agreement….maybe
Cautious optimism that the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas movements might finally be able to reach a rapprochement after a number of signed reconciliation agreements failed from the start is the reaction to the latest developments brokered by the Egyptian government in a series of Cairo meetings with Hamas officials.
That the Hamas delegation, including its Doha and Gaza-based leadership consisting of Ismail Haniyyeh, Musa Abu Marzouk and Yahya al-Senwar were all welcome in the Egyptian capital was itself an achievement given the recent warming in the relationship between the Islamist group and the Al-Sisi government which upon ascending to power had eschewed Hamas as an offshoot of nemesis Muslim Brotherhood.
There was no delegation present to represent the Palestinian Authority during the talks with the Egyptian government. PA Vice President Mahmoud Al-Aloul, who is known as Abu Jihad, explained to The Media Line that until now there are suggestions and understandings between Hamas and the Egyptian government on ending the Palestinian bifurcation, seen by many as the most significant obstacle to preparing Palestinians for statehood, but “there is no official agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.”
But Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasem revealed to The Media Line that Hamas came to terms under the aegis of the Egyptian government to end hostilities with Fatah, mend the rift with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and reconcile after several agreements to do so were signed but not implemented.
“Hamas will enable the government of national reconciliation and the dissolution of the administrative committee,” Qasem said, referring to the body that controls day-to-day issues of governance for Hamas.
He explained that Hamas and Fatah have committed to holding elections, after which details of a reunification of the Palestinian people will be worked out.
Qasem also told The Media Line that, “A deal has been discussed with the Egyptian government in regard to the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, but Hamas insists on its position in re-visiting previous deals before discussing something new.” He was apparently reiterating the Hamas demand that those re-arrested by the Israelis following the last prisoner swap and were later re-arrested for allegedly new security crimes be freed before moving on with the release of the bodies of two soldiers killed during the last Gaza ground operation and two other Israelis who were detained after finding their way into the Gaza Strip.
Cause to hold-off on the celebration was made clear by Wasel Abu Yousef, a PLO Executive Committee member, who told The Media Line that unless Fatah sees implementation of the agreement by Hamas – including enabling the government of national reconciliation, the dissolution of the administrative committee and agreement on elections, “there is nothing to discuss.”
“If Hamas holds elections in the strip, whoever wins will rule the strip, and at the end no Palestinian state without Gaza.”
Haniyeh, and al-Senwar, whose trip to Cairo was their first time away from Gaza since their election, are expected to brief Arab and Muslim leaders in countries including Qatar and Turkey.