Palestinians parade during celebrations after Hamas said it reached a deal with Palestinian rival Fatah, in Gaza City, October 12, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS/SUHAIB SALEM)
The full text of the agreement Hamas and Fatah announced in Cairo on Thursday was leaked on social media and Hamas-affiliated media sites over the weekend. The agreement sought to restore the Palestinian Authority’s governing authority in the Gaza Strip.
At a press conference on Thursday and in official statements, the two parties as well as Egypt, which helped broker the agreement, only revealed part of the deal, causing confusion for journalists and other observers.
Here is a synopsis of the six clauses of the leaked agreement, which was signed by Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad and Hamas Deputy Politburo chief Salah al-Arouri:1)
The Palestinian Authority government will be empowered to carry out fully its responsibilities in administrating the Gaza Strip as it does in the West Bank by December 1. While both parties already agreed several weeks ago that the PA would take responsibility for Gaza, they had not previously set a definitive deadline.2)
A PA-formed committee will resolve the employees issue by February 1. While the committee works to resolve the employees issue and after the PA is enabled to carry out its administrative and financial powers in Gaza including tax collection, the PA will pay the Hamas-appointed employees their salaries.
After Hamas ousted the Fatah-dominated PA from Gaza in 2007, the PA ordered its some 55,000 employees in the small coastal enclave not to report to work. In response, Hamas appointed some 40,000 new employees, who have run Gaza’s ministries and other government institutions for more than the past ten years.
Hamas has said it wants the PA to absorb of all of its employees onto its payroll as a final solution to the employees issue. Meanwhile, Fatah has said it wants to resolve the employees issue, but cautioned that it cannot integrate every Hamas-appointed employee onto its payroll.
Border crossings in Gaza with Israel and Egypt will be transferred to the PA by November 1.
One eve of Gaza reconciliation, Hamas frees Fatah men, October 1, 2017. (Reuters)
Ahmad on Thursday told a press conference at the Egyptian Intelligence Directorate in Cairo that the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings between Gaza and Israel would be handed over the PA by November 1. However, He said the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt would likely be transferred to the PA later than November 1.4)
PA security leaders will go to Gaza to discuss ways and mechanisms to rebuild the security services with relevant parties.
According to Ahmad, the two parties agreed that the US-trained PA Presidential Guard will control the Egyptian-Gazan border. However, it is unclear if they reached any other security arrangements.
A major point of disagreement on security between the two parties is the future of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that Izzadin Kassam hand over its weapons, while Hamas’s leadership has said this will not happen.
Hamas’s armed wing has some 25,000 members, who have thousands of weapons including guns and rockets.5)
A meeting in Cairo will take place in the first week of December to evaluate the implementation of what was agreed between Hamas and Fatah.6)
All the Palestinian factions that signed the Cairo reconciliation agreement in 2011, will meet on November 14 in the Egyptian capital to discuss the 2011 agreement.
The 2011 Cairo agreement deals with holding general elections within one year, reforming the PLO, and other issues.
Regarding the timing of the Palestinian factions’ meeting in Cairo, an official Egyptian announcement on Thursday said the meeting will take place on November 21. It is not clear why the agreement and the Egyptian announcement state different dates.
In addition to the six clauses, the agreement included a preamble. It refers, among other things, to achieving Palestinian unity for the sake of “ending the occupation, establishing a sovereign Palestinian state on all of the lands occupied in 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of refugees.”
Hamas issued a policy document earlier this year in which it said establishing a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines is “a national consensus.” However, in the same document, Hamas said it refuses to recognize Israel and rejects any alternative to “liberating Palestine from the river to the sea.”