Hamas, Fatah talk Palestinian unity in W. Bank meeting

Stalled reconciliation deal between rival factions back on table, as sides discuss trust-building measures ahead of planned Cairo meet.

PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Hamas and Fatah officials held a meeting in the West Bank to discuss Palestinian reconciliation efforts recently, the Ma'an news agency reported on Wednesday.
Fatah leaders signed a reconciliation deal with their Hamas counterparts in May, but the agreement has stalled in a dispute over who will lead a unity government they agreed to form ahead of a new parliamentary election.
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The meeting, which took place at the home of Nasser al-Shaer, a former deputy to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, was described as an introductory step to prepare a future meeting to be held between the two sides in Cairo, tentatively scheduled for early October.
According to the report, the issues of political detainees held in Gaza and the West Bank, and trust-building measures between the sides were discussed at the meeting.
Hamas leaders have recently voiced harsh criticisms of the Palestinian Authority for PA President Mahmoud Abbas's submittal of a request for a Palestinian state at the United Nations.
Haniyeh said last week that the Palestinian people should not "beg for a state."
Speaking after Friday prayers at a mosque in Gaza City, Haniyeh said that "liberation" of Palestinian land must come first, and then the "state," Hamas-affiliated Al Resalah reported.
The unity deal was put on hold because of Abbas's insistence that current PA prime minister Salaam Fayyad remain premier in a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation government. Hamas, has strongly rejected Fayyad’s nomination.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.