Hamas and Fatah sign unity deal

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Hani

If this deal succeeds, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza will be reunited under one leadership for the first time since the Islamist militant group Hamas wrested control of the territory 10 years ago. The deal would see both Hamas and Fatah form a Palestinian government to appoint the prime minister and ministerial positions.

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas told AFP on Thursday, "I welcome the agreement".

The two factions, the same source continued, had also agreed to allow a legal and administrative committee, drawn up earlier in Ramallah, to find solutions to longstanding problems - mostly related to salary shortfalls - faced by Gaza's Hamas-hired civil servants.

Two weeks before this, another meeting will be held in Cairo (on November 14) between representatives of all Palestinian factions, the same source said, adding that this meeting would discuss "mechanisms" for implementing the reconciliation agreement.

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The accord will see the consensus government officially take full administrative control of Gaza by December 1, according to a statement issued by Egypt's state media center.

In a press statement, Egypt expressed its deep appreciation to the Fatah and Hamas movements for the positive spirit of the two delegations which led to reaching this agreement.

He went on to say that Abbas planned to reverse all measures he had recently taken against the Gaza Strip, which since mid-2007 has been governed by Hamas.

The split has complicated any potential peace negotiations with Israel, as Hamas remains committed to the Jewish state's destruction and has vowed it will not hand over its arsenal as part of a reconciliation deal with the PA.

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Al-Ahmed highly appreciated the Egyptian role and keenness to achieve Palestinian reconciliation, stressing that Egypt is the sponsor of the Arab national security, including the Palestinian security.

Attempts at reconciliation in recent years fell apart.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Sissi in NY last month, denounced the reconciliation efforts, saying any future Palestinian government must disband the Hamas terror group's armed wing and sever its ties with Iran.

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