Egypt brokers Fatah-hamas deal on Gaza
NEGOTIATORS from the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have signed a deal that will bring a national unity government to the Gaza Strip, ending more than a decade of division.
The agreement, brokered by Egypt, allows the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority government to take over the administration of Gaza and its crossingpoints from Hamas by Dec 1.
Little detail has been released about how the unity government will work, but Azzam al-ahmad, head of Fatah delegation, said the Palestinian presidential guard would be deployed to Gaza’s border with Egypt by Nov 1 to “end the division for ever”.
Mr Ahmad’s team had been told by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, not to return from Cairo without an agreement to “unify the Palestinian people”, he said.
Saleh al-arouri, who heads the Hamas delegation, echoed the theme. “Although we competed in politics and, at unfortunate times, have been in conflict ... it does not prevent us from being brothers,” he said.
Gaza has been under Israeli blockade since June 2007, after hardline Hamas seized control rather than share power with the more moderate Fatah. The resulting split has crippled development and stalled talks with Israel.
The area is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, with around 1.75 million people who have endured electricity and clean water shortages and 40 per cent unemployment.