Fatah official to head to Gaza for reconciliation talks with Hamas

Visit is announced day after Hamas declared series of measures to pave the way for ending dispute with Fatah.

Palestinians wearing Hamas, Fatah masks 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)
Palestinians wearing Hamas, Fatah masks 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)
Senior Fatah official Azam al-Ahmed is expected to head to the Gaza Strip soon to discuss ways of ending the dispute between his faction and Hamas.
The planned visit was announced one day after Hamas declared a series of measures to pave the way for reconciliation with Fatah.
The measures, announced by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Monday, include the release of Fatah activists from prison and allowing others to return to the Gaza Strip.
On Monday night, Haniyeh phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and informed him of the new measures. The two agreed to pursue efforts to end the conflict between their rival parties.
Mohamed Shtayyeh, a senior Fatah official, announced Tuesday that he and al-Ahmed met two weeks ago in Doha, Qatar, with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and discussed with him ways of achieving reconciliation between the two sides.
“We are prepared for reconciliation and ending the split,” Shtayyeh told reporters during a visit to Gaza City.
“Brother Haniyeh is making a big effort regarding reconciliation and we welcome his recent measures.”
Shtayyeh, who until recently served as member of the PA negotiating team with Israel, said that some parties were trying to hinder the efforts of the Hamas prime minister to achieve reconciliation with Fatah. He did not name the parties.
However, it’s believed that Shtayyeh was referring to several Hamas leaders, including Mahmoud Zahar, who remains strongly opposed to reconciliation with Fatah.
In a related development, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad said that his government would release Fatah prisoners in the coming days.
He said that the prisoners slated for release had committed “politically motivated criminal offenses.”