Hamas has decided to give back the villa belonging to Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza City, Hamas official Khalil al- Haya announced
Hamas militiamen seized the villa during the 2007 coup they
staged against the PA in the Gaza Strip. Abbas’s residence and other PA
installations have since been occupied by Hamas officials and
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The villa was empty when it was seized by Hamas. Abbas has
since been living in his other house in Ramallah.
Haya said that Abbas’s
villa would be handed over to Fatah representatives in the Gaza Strip. He said
the decision was taken following a meeting of Fatah and Hamas officials in Gaza
City to discuss the implementation of last year's Egyptian-brokered
reconciliation agreement between the two parties.
Hamas was eager to
implement the reconciliation pact to end the split between the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip, Haya said.
He added that Hamas also had no objections to the
opening of offices belonging to the Palestinian Central Elections Commission in
the Gaza Strip. The commission has been entrusted with preparing for long
overdue presidential and parliamentary elections in the Palestinian
The PA leadership is hoping that that the vote would be held
as early as May 2012.
However, several Palestinian groups have expressed
skepticism over the proposed date, saying the gap between Hamas and Fatah
remains as wide as ever on many important issues.
It is not clear at this
stage whether Hamas would also be returning the homes of other top Palestinian
officials who fled the Gaza Strip before and during the coup.