10/02/2017, 15.54
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Fatah arrives in Gaza as the first step towards reconciliation with Hamas

Tomorrow, a cabinet meeting will be held in the Strip. Control of Gaza could pass to the Palestinian Authority. An Egyptian delegation will be present. Sabella, a Fatah member, is cautiously optimistic, but the details are needed. Unity is necessary unity, and elections for a change of guard.

Gaza (AsiaNews) – Fatah, which controls the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, met today for the first time since 2015. Tensions between the two sides had exacerbated the Strip’s humanitarian crisis, including its energy shortages.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah arrived in Gaza for this purpose. In the afternoon he was scheduled to meet with Hamas chief Ismail Haniya and Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar. A cabinet meeting is set for tomorrow. An Egyptian delegation will be present as an observer.

The meeting should be the first important step towards the transfer of authority from Hamas to the PNA.

On 17 September, Hamas had announced that it was ready to dissolve the governmental committee running Gaza and hold general elections for the first time since 2006 when it seized the Strip and expelled Fatah representatives.

This split has often been cited as the reason for delaying the PNA presidential election since 2009.

For Bernard Sabella, a Catholic and a Fatah representative from Jerusalem as well as executive secretary of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches, the meeting represents an "important step towards the unity of the Palestinians" who "cannot continue to be divided.”

“However, there are obstacles.” It will be necessary to clarify what "reconciliation" means, in particular with regard to security issues. "It's a long way," says Sabella, but "we must try; otherwise we're all stuck."

The main objective is to ensure the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections so that "the old guard is replaced by a younger generation, more involved in everyday life."

Despite great optimism, Sabella calls for caution. "I hope they are right that the time of division is really over, but everything depends on the details."

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