HAMAS LEADER Ismail Haniyeh gestures during a news conference in Gaza City earlier this month.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Hamas delegation in Cairo said the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip will be eased, following a series of meetings with Egyptian officials.
“The talks yielded some results that will ease the Gaza Strip’s burdens,” the delegation said in a statement late on Wednesday night.
The delegation led by Hamas Politburo member Rouhi Mushtaha arrived in Cairo on Sunday, “to follow up on understandings” that a separate Hamas delegation and Egypt reached in June, according to the Islamist group.
Since the first Hamas delegation’s visit to Cairo, Egypt has sent a number of diesel fuel shipments to Gaza to alleviate the electricity crisis there.
Meanwhile, Hamas has started to build a buffer zone in Gaza along the Sinai border, which officials say is aimed at improving the security situation. Egypt has long held that Islamic State fighters in Sinai have sought refuge, medical treatment and arms in the Strip.
The Hamas delegation in Cairo also said that it spoke with Egyptian officials about the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation process.
“The movement’s delegation expressed complete openness to ending the division,” the statement said. “Hamas has no objection to the consensus government undertaking its duties in Gaza, but the practical reality has forced [us] to form an administrative committee to oversee citizens’ affairs.”
Since ousting the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in a coup d’etat in 2007, Hamas has controlled Gaza.
In 2014, the Islamist group signed a reconciliation deal with Fatah, leading to the formation of a PA consensus government with a mandate in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, the PA government has wielded little authority over affairs in Gaza. The PA has blamed Hamas for preventing it from governing in Gaza, while Hamas has accused the PA of purposefully neglecting the Strip.
The PA government on Thursday called on Hamas to respond affirmatively to President Mahmoud Abbas’s proposal to dissolve its administrative committee and enable the consensus government to operate in Gaza.