Egyptian Delegation Holds Cease-fire, Intra-Palestinian Reconciliation Talks In Gaza
An Egyptian delegation held talks with Hamas representatives this weekend in a bid to end the decade-long rivalry between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction and the terror group that rules the Gaza Strip. Also topping the agenda was a prospective cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, negotiations for which have stalled over the past month despite the restoration of relative calm along the Gaza border. Fatah and Hamas have been at odds since the latter evicted the former from the Palestinian enclave in an internecine war in 2007, leading to an intra-Palestinian divide that the United Nations’ special envoy to the Middle East last week said was partially responsible for the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza. In this respect, Abbas earlier this year imposed sanctions on the territory, going so far as to request that Israel reduce the already limited amount of electricity it provides to the enclave. Whereas numerous reconciliation agreements have been signed between the parties, Abbas is still refusing to re-assume administrative control over Gaza due to Hamas’ unwillingness to disarm. As a result, the Ramallah government has been largely sidelined during talks to forge a truce between the Jewish state and the Islamist group, following months of violence prompted by the weekly “March of Return” protests. This weekend, there was an uptick in tensions as thousands of Gazans converged on the security fence and the Israeli army struck a cell that was preparing to launch incendiary objects across the border. Abbas holds that Hamas has no authority to sign any deals with Jerusalem and adamantly has demanded that a long-term solution to the problems in Gaza be negotiated through him.