Hamas agrees to dissolve governing body in Gaza

Hamas agrees to dissolve governing body in Gaza

Hamas agrees to dissolve governing body in Gaza

Hamas said it had also agreed to hold general elections in order to end the decade-long split.

They agreed to the unity government in 2014, but Hamas has continued to oversee Gaza with its administrative body.

Hamas had previously demanded that Abbas halt a series of measures taken against Gaza before sitting down to discuss a reconciliation deal.

The announcement comes after days of indirect negotiations between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Islamist Hamas in Cairo.

Fatah, meanwhile, said on Sunday that it welcomed the pledge by its rival Hamas to accept key conditions for reconciliation.

Last Tuesday, Fatah Central Committee Member Azzam al-Ahmad, who is now leading the Fatah delegation in Cairo, said if Hamas disbands its administrative committee, Abbas would lift its punitive measures against it.

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Some opinion polls have showed that if parliamentary elections were held now, Hamas would win both in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the seat of Mr Abbas's Palestinian Authority.

It added that it had decided to make the announcement in response to Egyptian efforts to achieve reconciliation and end internal Palestinian divisions.

Hoping to pressure Hamas into relinquishing control of Gaza, Mr Abbas cut payments to Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza.

"This puts Abu Mazen and Fatah to the real test", Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement on Hamas' official website.

Abbas, now in NY for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, has yet to comment on Hamas's announcement.

'The administrative committee is now dissolved and the government can come to Gaza today to assume its responsibilities and duties, ' he added.

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Hamas, however, has been greatly weakened by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, three wars with Israel and worldwide isolation.

The unemployment rate now stands at 42 percent in Gaza, infrastructure for water and electricity do not meet its residents' basic needs and half of the population relies on humanitarian aid. The two sides were still in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Sunday night.

Despite Sunday's announcement, however, any reconciliation deal faces many obstacles.

Following the meeting, Haniyeh said that Hamas was ready "to hold a dialogue with Fatah in Cairo immediately, to come to an agreement and set the terms for its implementation".

In exchange, Egypt is supposed to alleviate its blockade of Gaza by opening the Rafah crossing - the only way out of Gaza except through Israel - as well as increase commercial ties with the Strip.

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