Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh announced Thursday morning that his organization and Fatah have reached a reconciliation agreement. According to Reuters, the details regarding the agreement are expected to be revealed during a press conference this afternoon in Cairo, where the talks between the two rival Palestinian factions took place.
“We are meeting in Cairo in hopes of formulating a roadmap titled National Reconciliation,” wrote Hamas member Izzat Reshiq on his Twitter account earlier this week. “Unity and national reconciliation among the Palestinian people are our strategic option for moving forward.” Meanwhile, Azzam Ahmad, one of the leaders of the Fatah delegation, told Reuters that while the negotiations would include the government offices in Gaza, the main focus would be on the topic of security in Gaza due to its controversial nature.
Security cooperation between Fatah and Hamas could include, among other things, the deployment of 3,000 Fatah security officers, who would join the Gaza police force over a period of 12 months. Such a move would restore a great deal of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ influence in Gaza while weakening Hamas’ control. Fatah has claimed that the Rafah border crossing should be managed by Abbas’ presidential guards and under the supervision of the EU, relieving thousands of Hamas members of their jobs.
The talks between Fatah and Hamas were conducted after Egypt tried several times to resolve the conflict between the two factions and establish a unity government in Gaza and the West Bank. In 2014, the sides agreed to create a unity government, but no such government was ever formed. Ahead of the negotiations in Cairo, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu warned against “fake reconciliations” and stated once again that Israel demands the demilitarization of Hamas.