PLO Delegation to Head to Gaza for Reconciliation Meetings

21 Apr
1:18 AM

A delegation from the PLO will visit the Gaza Strip, within the next two days, for meetings to discuss reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, a member of the delegation said.Bassam al-Salhi told Ma’an News Agency that the visit to Gaza is part of an effort to implement reconciliation agreements reached with Hamas in 2012.

Achieving reconciliation with Hamas will lead to an improvement in Gaza-Egypt relations, al-Salhi said.

The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections.

In the following year, clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.

The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements — one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha — which have as of yet been entirely unimplemented.

The PLO has been considering the option of disbanding the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to the apparent failure of the current round of peace talks with Israel, according to a Palestinian official.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanna Amira told Ma’an that there were ‘scenarios … that could lead to the disbandment of the PA.’

‘The future of the PA has become unclear because when it was established, it was meant as a temporary stage leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state,’ Amira said.

‘Thus, if the PA doesn’t lead to statehood, things should be reviewed.’

Amira’s comments come after the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv quoted Abbas as threatening to disband the PA.

‘I don’t need Netanyahu. I don’t need a chief of staff. Give me a junior officer or even a lieutenant and I will deliver the PA keys to him. Here you are, take charge and I will leave in an hour,’ Maariv quoted Abbas as saying.

Amira said that Abbas’ words reflect the fact that the idea of disbanding the PA is being discussed among PLO committee members.

Separately, Amira told Ma’an that the PLO Central Council would hold an important meeting, next Saturday.

‘It will be a decisive session because it comes only two days before the agreed-upon nine-month round of talks (with Israel) comes to an end,’ he said.

Some critics of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations say that, 20 years after the Oslo Accords, it is time to dismantle the PA and force Israel to take full responsibility for the territory it occupies.

Israeli economic minister Naftali Bennett, on Sunday, implicitly called on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to quit negotiations, if wants.

‘If Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas want to go, he can go – we won’t stop him,’ the Jewish Home’ party-affiliated politician said, quoted by Israeli daily Haaretz.

According to Al Ray, the nine months term set for the talks to compromise a comprehensive peace deal are about to end, with Israel stubbornly setting new conditions in front of the Palestinian negotiators to establish a Palestinian state.

Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians were relaunched in July, under the auspices of the US, after nearly three years of impasse.

Israel’s government has announced the construction of thousands of settler housing units, and its army has killed over 60 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since the negotiations began.

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