Palestinian Gaza pact
Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas reached a preliminary agreement Thursday that could return the Gaza Strip to President Mahmoud Abbas’ control and ease a decade-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the coastal territory.
The deal was announced at a news conference in Cairo, where negotiators have been meeting, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said it was reached under “generous Egyptian auspices,” without elaborating. Egypt has been eager to show progress in unity talks, and both Palestinian factions face pressure to resolve differences.
The sides have tried, and failed, to reach reconciliation several times before. The Western-backed Abbas hasn’t set foot in Gaza since 2007, when the Islamic militant Hamas, his main ideological rival, seized the territory after days of factional street battles. The Hamas takeover left Abbas in control of enclaves in the Israelioccupied West Bank.