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Hamas and Fatah reach "final" agreement over control of Gaza

by David Gilbert
Oct 12 2017, 8:59am

Rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement Thursday to let the Palestinian Authority retake control of Gaza after a decade of conflict.

The agreement was reached after marathon talks in Cairo brokered by Egypt.

Since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007, separate governments have ruled Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed a “final agreement” to end the 10-year rift Thursday.

“I welcome the agreement,” he told the AFP. “I received a detailed report from the Fatah delegation about what was agreed, and I considered it the final agreement to end the division.”

Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, has been fighting a low-intensity conflict with Hamas since it wrested control of the Gaza Strip.

“We want to extend the rule of law to Gaza as [has been done] in the West Bank,” Fatah spokesperson Osama Qawasmeh said Tuesday.

However, critics have warned the latest agreement, the seventh this decade, will likely be “cosmetic.”

The factions have previously reached a similar deal in Mecca in 2007; Sana’a in 2008; Cairo in 2011; Doha in 2012; Cairo again in 2012; and at the Shati refugee camp in 2014.

“It’s all cosmetic at this point,” Grant Rumley, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said last month after Hamas signaled its intent to allow Fatah to take control.

“Neither side will be able to bridge the ideological divide or forget their blood-soaked history anytime soon.”

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