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Friday 4th
posted by James Tweedie in World

PALESTINE’S occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip were set to reunite yesterday after Hamas accepted a Fatah party deal.

Details of the offer emerged on Wednesday when Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muheisen told Voice of Palestine radio that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met a Hamas delegation at Ramallah in the West Bank on Tuesday.

Mr Abbas told the delegation that he would lift all measures imposed against Gaza if Hamas agreed to dissolve the rival Administrative Committee it formed in the besieged enclave in March.

Those measures included cutting funding for fuel to Gaza at the same time as Israel reduced the power supply to a trickle over unpaid bills to the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas politburo member Salah al-Bardwil said yesterday the Administrative Committee would be disbanded as soon as the Ramallah authority “takes over all responsibilities in Gaza.”

He called upon all Palestinian factions to “immediately start a national dialogue to achieve a government that represents national unity and gives the Palestinian Legislative Council the authority to perform its duties.”

There have been no elections to the Legislative Council since 2006, when Hamas won a majority.

A power-sharing bid broke down amid violent clashes between it and Fatah, resulting in a Fatah-led government in the West Bank and a Hamas administration in Gaza.

Mr Bardwil also called for preparations to be made for presidential and legislative elections “that would come out with the best interests of the Palestinian people.

“Hamas’s stance is a response to the people’s voice in Jerusalem and everywhere, and confirmation of Hamas’s commitment to national interest and past agreements,” Mr Bardwil said.

The agreement apparently leaves a power-sharing deal for Gaza between Hamas and Egypt-based Fatah dissident Mohammed Dahlan in limbo.

Last Thursday Mr Dahlan, a rival of Mr Abbas, said: “We have made mutual efforts with our brothers in Hamas to restore hope for Gaza’s heroic people.”

Egypt began fuel shipments through the Rafah border crossing to restart Gaza’s power station in June, but was forced to halt them after Isis-affiliated militants in the Sinai peninsula stepped up attacks.

The power-sharing deal, backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, undermined Mr Abbas’s authority.