Palestinian prime minister visits Gaza in move to reconcile with Hamas

Palestinian prime minister visits Gaza in move to reconcile with Hamas

During a visit to Israel's border with the Gaza Strip in August, Greenblatt said that "it is clear that the Palestinian Authority must renew its role in managing the Gaza Strip, because Hamas has severely harmed the residents and failed to meet their most basic needs".

The cabinet session was the first in Gaza since 2014, Hamdallah told his ministers, and a major step in a reconciliation process promoted by neighboring Egypt and other US-allied Arab countries.

Under Hamas' watch, Gaza has fallen deeper into poverty, battered by a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade and three devastating wars with Israel.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as well as all of the PA government ministers traveled to Gaza on Monday in a bid to start work on ending the territorial division between the West Bank and Gaza.

Hamdallah met with the leaders of rival political movement Hamas, 10 years after they violently forced his allies out of Gaza in a near civil war.

Hamas ousted the Fatah-led forces of the Palestinian Authority in the summer of 2007, having won the most seats in elections the year before.

The Government of Palestinian National Reconciliation, Minister of Foundations and religious affairs Yusuf Idris, has surrendered its powers in Gaza.

I am encouraged by the continuing engagement of Egypt with all sides to ensure the implementation of the Cairo understandings.

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Hamas then pushed Fatah out of Gaza in a bloody conflict, when the latter refused to recognise the result of the vote.

Huge posters of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who brokered the reconciliation effort, were featured outside Abbas' residence as Hamas policemen were deployed all around.

In the past, Israel has fought against any role in the Palestinian government for Hamas, which achieved global notoriety in the 1990s by launching suicide bomb attacks in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the USA and the E.U. Steps taken include temporarily halting the monthly transfer of some $100 million in tax revenue Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

"The whole world is waiting for your efforts to achieve reconciliation among the Palestinian people", he said.

A senior Israel official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that "Hamas is trying to gain worldwide legitimacy without accepting Israel's right to exist, without disarming and without accepting the Quartet principles".

Hamas hopes to convince Egypt to ease its border restrictions, which, along with the isolation of key regional ally Qatar, have left the Islamists weak.

Officials on both sides said the more hard issues will be addressed at the upcoming talks in Cairo.

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