Hamas says ready to reconcile with Fatah with no conditions

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 13.09.2017 00:38

Hamas said it is ready to talk reconciliation with the rival government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas without preconditions. Hamas had previously demanded that Abbas halt a series of measures taken against the group before sitting down to discuss a reconciliation deal.

Abbas cut electricity in Gaza and slashed the salaries of tens of thousands of public servants in a bid to compel Hamas to dissolve a contentious committee it formed to run the territory in defiance of Abbas' government.

In a statement Monday following a meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo, the group said it was prepared to dissolve the committee. The rival Palestinian factions split in 2007 when Hamas violently routed forces loyal to Abbas from Gaza. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have since failed.

After distancing itself from the Muslim Brotherhood by changing its administrative cadre, Hamas unveiled a new political charter in May amid structural changes.

In its new program, Hamas redefines itself as a national liberation group, distancing it from its parent movement, the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed by neighboring Egypt. Ahmad Yusuf, a senior Hamas leader considered one the organization's pragmatists, said the new document signaled "an important shift in the way Hamas is thinking," that will give it more flexibility internationally. Hamas recently moved to secure its position in the region by making a significant change to its administrative cadre while accepting collaborative efforts with Egypt to fight the presence of Daesh in Sinai. After declaring itself an entirely independent organization with no affiliation with any parent organization such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas stated its intentions to mend ties with Cairo, as they both suffer from the presence of radical movements. Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007, after securing an overwhelming victory in legislative elections the previous year and ending 40 years of political domination by its rival Fatah party. Hamas captured the coastal strip by violently overthrowing forces loyal to the Fatah movement, led by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel, along with Egypt, has been enforcing a crippling border blockade against them since then. Though it has softened some of its rhetoric, Hamas' new platform clung to the hard-line positions that led to its isolation. The group reaffirmed it will not recognize Israel, renounce violence or recognize previous interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals — the West's long-standing conditions for dealing with Hamas.

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