Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq arrived in Gaza via the Rafah crossing, on Monday, where he was welcomed by a delegation of Hamas and Fatah officials.The senior official, who is based in Egypt, arrived in the besieged territory for reconciliation talks with a delegation of PLO officials.
Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, secretary general of the Palestinian People’s Party, Bassam al-Salhi, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa al-Barghouthi, secretary general of the Palestinian Arab Front, Jamil Shehada, and businessman Munib al-Masri are due to arrive in Gaza over the next 48 hours.
Abu Marzouq will join other Hamas officials at the home of Gaza PM Ismail Haniyeh for pre-meeting discussions.
Azzam al-Ahmad said, Monday, that he is optimistic that political tensions between Fatah and Hamas will come to an end following upcoming reconciliation talks in Gaza.
Al-Ahmad, who is currently in Egypt, told Ma’an that a PLO delegation of five members will travel to Gaza from the West Bank within 48 hours to meet top Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mousa Abu Marzouq.
‘We are going to Gaza not to propose new suggestions, but rather to carry out a clear mission which is to end the state of disagreement and address three decisive issues,’ al-Ahmad said.
‘We are going to address the formation of a national consensus government, elections and restructuring the PLO in order to maintain Palestinian unity so we can dedicate our efforts to confronting Israeli occupation.’
The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections.
In the following year, clashes erupted between the two factions, leaving Hamas in control of Gaza and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.
The factions 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.
Palestinian negotiators have warned that they may pass responsibility for the West Bank back to occupying power Israel if peace talks remain stalled, according to a senior Palestinian official.
The official said that the Palestinians told US peace envoy Martin Indyk on Friday that, unless Israel releases Palestinian prisoners, as agreed, and freezes settlement building, they could dismantle the Western-backed Palestinian Authority of president Mahmoud Abbas.
Under the 1993 Oslo accords, which were to have led to an independent Palestinian state, the Palestinians received limited autonomy in managing their day-to-day affairs.
The PA is in a constant budgetary crisis and only manages to pay its civil servants and provide essential services with funding from foreign donors.
But, Israel still retains overall control of the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem, while Hamas ousted PA rule in the Gaza Strip in 2007, and has since run its own administration.
Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti has been denied a permit to the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing, a PLO official said Monday.
PLO Executive Committee member Jamil Shehada told Ma’an that Israel rejected Barghouti’s application for a permit to enter Gaza, where he intends to travel as a member of a delegation to discuss national reconciliation.
Shehada said the delegation would travel to Gaza via Egypt, if necessary.
The PLO and Hamas have periodically held talks on reconciliation, but they have come to nothing.