Palestinian unity talks between Fatah and Hamas kept under wraps amid Egyptian efforts to reconcile warring factions
Jack Khoury Oct 11, 2017 10:17 AM
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Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh voiced content Wednesday from the first day of reconciliation talks with Fatah. Haniyeh was briefed on the Egyptian-mediated talks in Cairo to see the warring Palestinian factions reach a deal to consolidate Palestinian Authority rule over the West Bank and Gaza.
Haniyeh recived an update from his deputy, Salah al-Arouri, after the first day talks on forming a unity government ended in Cairo. Hamas released a statement saying it was dedicated to ending the division in the Palestinian leadership.
Palestinian sources say that the Egyptians are keeping the contents of talks under wraps to prevent any leaks.
A report by the Palestinian news agency Shms News said an Israeli delegation landed in Cairo on Tuesday to meet with Egyptian officials. The report cited Egyptian officials. A key point for Israel is resolving the impasse regarding the Israelis missing in Gaza. Israel is seeking to take advantage of the conciliatory atmosphere between Hamas and Fatah to make progress in negotiations regarding the issue.
At the end of August, Col (res.) Lior Lotan, the coordinator for prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action, resigned his post, and Netanyahu has yet to name a replacement.
Reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas began in Cairo on Tuesday under the auspices of Egyptian intelligence. Last week a ceremonial cabinet meeting with both groups was held in the Gaza strip.
The negotiations aren’t starting from scratch but will be based on the 2011 Cairo agreement. Both organizations agree that the changes in the region since then mean that amendments and new agreements are needed, but not a reopening of all the agreement’s clauses.
Saleh al-Arouri is heading Hamas’ delegation, with his team including Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and Moussa Abu Marzouk, who led the group’s representation during reconciliation talks in the past.
The Fatah delegation includes central committee member Azzam al-Ahmad, who is responsible for the movement’s reconciliation portfolio, as well as the minister for civilian affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh. Also on board are other members of the central committee, in addition to Majid Faraj, head of Palestinian security and a close associate of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.