Palestinian sources reported Sunday that leaders of the Fateh and Hamas movement managed to reach a deal, supervised by Egypt, that aims at releasing political prisoners held by Hamas in Gaza and Fateh in the West Bank, and decided to resolve the issue of passports issued to Gazans.The talks were described as positive and as “a new breakthrough that would lead to full political reconciliation between the two rival movements.

Both parties agreed on the release of political prisoners before the end of the current holy Muslim month of Ramadan, and also decided to form a committee responsible for insuring that Gaza residents will be able to apply for and receive
Palestinian passports without problems and complications.

The two movements also agreed on the right of West Bank Palestinians to travel to Gaza, including Fateh leaders who fled the Gaza Strip during armed confrontations between Fateh and Hamas gunmen and security forces in 2007 and 2008.

The authorities of Fateh in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza will also order the reopening of institutions that were shut down during the bloody clashes between the two movements.

On Sunday evening, Cairo announced that the talks between the two movements were very positive and that a follow-up meeting will be held in Cairo by the beginning of September.

Fateh and Hamas are said to be determined to resolve all remaining issues ensure real reconciliation and unity are achieved.

Egypt will be asking different Palestinian factions, including Fateh and Hamas, to hold meetings in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and to form internal Palestinian committees that would be tasked with ensuring that the unity deal is fully implemented.

In related news, the Al Quds Paper reported Sunday that Fateh and Hamas agreed on delaying the discussion on forming the new unity government until after this coming September in order to allow the Palestinian leadership to implement its plan to seeking international recognition of statehood at the United Nations this coming September.

Israel on the other hand is conducting political talks with different counties, especially with the United States, in an attempt to prevent the Palestinians from heading to the UN this September. Although a U.S. Veto against the initiative is practically assured, Israel wants to make sure the European Union and the United States, as well as other countries, are supporting the Israeli stances.

On Sunday evening, head of the Israeli Political and Security Committee, Major General Amos Gilad, arrived in Egypt for a short visit to hold talks with Egyptian officials; the talks are believed to mainly focusing on the latest developments on the Egypt-Israel border.

The talks are also related to the prisoner-swap talks that aim at security the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was captured by the resistance in Gaza in mid-2006, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian detainees.

Shalit is the only Israeli prisoner in Palestinian hands, while Israel is holding captive more than 8000 Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children.

Last Wednesday, a senior Israeli security official held similar talks with a number of Egyptian officials in Cairo.