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Report: Egyptian negotiators present Hamas, PA reconciliation agreement

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The reconciliation proposal follows months of Egyptian efforts to end the rift between the two Palestinian groups.
By Tovah Lazaroff
Egyptian negotiators have proposed a three year agreement to reconcile the rival factions of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Army Radio reported on Thursday morning.

The proposed agreement would be enacted in stages. The PA would first take responsibility for civil services and the government ministries in the Gaza Strip, that are now under Hamas control. In its second phase the PA would be in control of the police and the border crossings. If all went well for three years, Hamas’ military wing Al-Din al-Qassam would be placed under PA control as well.Separately, elections would be held for a new Palestinian parliament and a new constitution would be drawn up, according to Army Radio.

The plan was designed by Egyptian General Ahmad Abd al-Khaliq, who has made four trips to Gaza and the West Bank in the past two weeks to secure agreements for the plan. He has also met with senior Israelis in the Defense Ministry.

The Egyptian plan includes detailed timetables and formulas for each stage. Hamas is prepared to consider the plan but is waiting for a response from PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas in the past has rejected any plan that did not immediately place the security services under his control. He fears that any plan that maintains a separate security force for Hamas makes it more likely that the West Bank and Gaza could become two separate entities rather than one unified state, according to Army Radio.The Palestinian News and Information Agency, WAFA, said that Abbas is expected to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday. It’s Abbas’ first meeting with Sisi in Egypt in ten months.

Egypt has been instrumental in mediating intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

The reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas is considered to be a necessary step for any final peace plan between Israeli and the Palestinians. The two Palestinian factions have been bitter rivals ever since Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza in a bloody coup in 2007.

Past reconciliations plans have never been fully implemented. Egypt and the United Nations have worked intently on a new reconciliation effort.

Simultaneously they have worked to restore calm and end the violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
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