Pales­tinian Gaza pact

New York Post - - NEWS - AP

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.

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