Pales­tinian fac­tions agree to rec­on­cile

Tampa Bay Times - - Nation & World -

The main Pales­tinian fac­tions signed a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion agree­ment Thurs­day that aims to mend their decade-old rift and places Gaza and the West Bank un­der one gov­ern­ment for the first time since 2007.

Un­der the agree­ment, the Pales­tinian Author­ity, which con­trols the West Bank, would in coming weeks take ad­min­is­tra­tive con­trol of Gaza and po­lice its bor­ders, merg­ing its se­cu­rity forces and min­istries with those of Hamas, the Is­lamic mil­i­tant group that con­trols the coastal strip.

While both sides hailed the agree­ment as a sig­nif­i­cant step to­ward unit­ing the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries — and po­ten­tial re­lief for Gazans suf­fer­ing dire short­ages of elec­tric­ity and med­i­cal sup­plies — it left many thornier is­sues un­re­solved, in­clud­ing the fate of the main Hamas mili­tia and the net­work of tun­nels un­der Gaza used by fight­ers and smug­glers.

Of­fi­cials from both sides stressed that the agree­ment, bro­kered by Egypt, was a first step, and that much de­pends on how events un­furl on the ground in the coming weeks.

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