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Palestinian factions delay Gaza handover to Fatah
December 01, 2017
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GAZA CITY: Rival Palestinian factions agreed on Wednesday to postpone the handover of control over Gaza from Hamas to Fatah, less than 48 hours before a deadline as part of an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal.

The announcement came at the last minute as the landmark Palestinian unity deal faltered dangerously, with Fatah and Hamas accusing each other of not respecting the accord.

“Hamas and Fatah are asking Egypt to postpone the transfer of the government roles from Dec.1 to Dec.10 in order to finalise arrangements to ensure the completion of national reconciliation steps,” said a statement from Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip. Fayez Abu Eita, a spokesman for Fatah in Gaza, said the same in remarks after the factions met in Gaza City, noting it was in the interest of “achieving the goals of our people, achieving reconciliation and ending the division.”

The two factions have not publicly presented a plan for how they will resolve remaining issues before the new Dec.10 deadline under the Egyptian-brokered accord.

Fatah’s top negotiator, Azzam Al Ahmad said that Hamas was “not committed to the agreement it signed in Cairo.”

“Until this moment, the problems and obstacles from Hamas are still there and are increasing.”

In response, senior Hamas official Bassem Naim accused Fatah of “manoeuvres” to avoid going through with the deal.

Hamas also accuses Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of violating the spirit of the agreement by so far refusing to lift punitive measures, including a cut in electricity payments for Gaza.

In previous days the two sides had traded accusations of failing to respect the Oct.12 agreement which was supposed to see Hamas hand over all governing duties in the enclave to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority by December 1.

Sharp disagreements remained between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah, based in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas, particularly over the fate of public employees in Gaza and security control of the enclave.

Also Wednesday, in another sign of tension ahead of the deadline, PA employees were prevented by union delegates close to Hamas from returning to work at a number of ministries in the Gaza Strip.


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