Hamas and Fatah announced Wednesday that they have reached a “historic” agreement to end their differences and form a Palestinian unity government.
The announcement came one day after a senior PLO delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas leaders on ways of ending the Hamas-Fatah dispute and achieving national reconciliation.
The PLO delegation consisted of representatives of various factions and was headed by Fatah’s Azzam al-Ahmed.
Previous reconciliation agreements between the two rival parties have never been implemented.
The latest agreement, which was signed at the home of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, states that the two sides would work toward implementing previous accords reached in Qatar and Egypt.
It calls for the establishment of a Palestinian unity government within five weeks. Six months later, the Palestinians would hold long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections.
The compromise calls for “activating and developing” the PLO so as to allow Hamas and other Palestinian groups to join the organization’s institutions.
In addition, it strives for reviving the Palestinian legislative council, which has been paralyzed since Hamas drove the PA out of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Announcing the agreement, Haniyeh said that the two sides “worked as one team and out of a sense of national responsibility.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum hailed the agreement as a “turning point in the history of the Palestinian people.”
Barhoum said the agreement would lay the foundations for “real national partnership.”
The accord, he added, is a “challenge to the enemies of the Palestinians and their unity and the biggest response to the occupation’s threats and crimes.”
Ahmed, the Fatah representative, thanked Haniyeh for his “big role” in ending the dispute between the two sides and expressed hope that the agreement would mark the beginning of “real national partnership” between Hamas and Fatah.