Palestinian Authority Session in the Gaza Strip: One More Indication of Reconciliation
Having signed several reconciliation agreements since 2011, the Fatah and Hamas movements – and the Palestinian people – are understandably skeptical about last week’s sudden thaw engineered by Egypt. Yet, unlike the previous agreements, all of which remained untouched in practice, tangible indications of an unfolding rapprochement are appearing. The latest manifestation is Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s plan to convene the Palestinian Authority’s weekly cabinet session in the Gaza Strip on Monday – the first meeting to be held there in three years. The Cairo-brokered agreement sees governance of the Gaza Strip revert to the PA, from which Hamas violently wrestled it away in 2007. Resuming its administrative authority is a major step toward reunification and elections, all of which are necessary in order for the Palestinians to realistically advance toward statehood. Despite renewed expectations, no sounds of kumbaya are being heard in Ramallah or Gaza City. Hamas notes the economic sanctions recently slapped on Gaza by PA President Abbas to pressure Gazans to reject Hamas rule remain in place. The withholding of portions of government workers’ salaries is one such sanction that Abbas said would end when Hamas turned over administrative control of Gaza, but remains in effect despite Hamas’s renunciation of administrative authority.