Nabil Sha’ath on Thursday became the highest ranking Fatah official to visit the Gaza Strip since the signing of the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement between his faction and Hamas in Cairo earlier this month.

A former PA foreign minister, Sha’ath entered the Gaza Strip through the northern Erez crossing.

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He told reporters upon his arrival that he came to tell everyone that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was determined to go ahead with the Fatah-Hamas accord and rebuild destroyed homes in the Gaza Strip.

Sha’ath said that the recent speeches of US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Washington over the past week would have no impact on the Palestinians.

“We will remain steadfast and we will continue, because this is a national and strategic interest,” he said in reference to the reconciliation pact.

“Without it, we won’t be able to liberate Palestine and with it, we will be able to establish the Palestinian state.”

Sha’ath said that Abbas was also planning to visit the Gaza Strip, but did not say when.

Sha’ath added that he was carrying messages from Abbas to leaders of all the groups that he’s planning to meet with.

He said that neither Netanyahu nor anyone else would succeed in foiling the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement.

Sha’ath was scheduled to hold talks with leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian groups on the latest developments in the region and on the PA’s intention to ask the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state, an official in Ramallah said.

Later on Thursday, former PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the inauguration of a new Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem that was attended by several Israeli officials, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan attended the dedication ceremony of the second stage of the Ma’aleh Hazeitim neighborhood on Wednesday night, which celebrated 60 new apartments in the Jewish compound located in the heart of the Arab neighborhood of Ras el-Amud in the capital’s southeast.


“The Israeli government is implementing its vision for the destruction of a two-state solution presented by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the American Congress,” said Erekat.

“This settlement is not only another obstacle to returning to negotiations, but it also raises tensions, institutionalizes discrimination, and brings those with extremist beliefs in close proximity to Palestinian residential areas,” he added.

Erekat called on the international community to act “so that Israel will understand that the creation of its facts on the ground can never make legal what is a war crime under international law. We call on all peace-loving countries that have not recognized the Palestinian state on the 1967 border to do so now.”

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