Palestinian premier plans to visit Gaza
RAMALLAH - Agence France-PresssPalestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is poised to visit Gaza for talks, a senior official said yesterday,
after Hamas agreed steps towards resolving a decade-long split with its West Bank-based rival Fatah.
Hamas announced Sept. 17 it had agreed to demands by President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party to dissolve what is seen as a rival administration in Gaza, while saying it was ready for elections and negotiations towards forming a unity government.
Hamdallah plans to travel to Gaza City to meet Hamas officials and assert the government’s control over ministries, Nabil Shaath, a senior advisor to Abbas, told journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as a first step towards implementing a larger agreement.
“We await the first steps on the ground. We want to see Mr Hamdallah received by Hamas, the door to all the ministries open,” he said. “That really could happen in the next 24 hours.”
Abbas’s internationally-recognized government is located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but it has had no control in Gaza for a decade -- after the Islamist movement Hamas seized the territory in a near civil war in 2007.
Hamdallah has not visited the territory since 2015, and a previous attempt at a unity government fell apart that year, with the two sides exchanging blame.
In recent months Abbas has sought to squeeze Hamas by reducing power supply to the strip, with the two million residents receiving only three or four hours of electricity per day.