- The Palestinian PM and PA officials arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday for reconciliation meetings between Fatah and Hamas
- The PM is scheduled to head the PA's weekly cabinet meeting there before heading to Cairo to continue reconciliation talks
- Hamas recently agreed to dissolve its administrative committee in Gaza and allow for national reconciliation, possibly putting an end to a national divide in the Palestinian government
- The PA has been accused of deliberately worsening the Gaza Strip humanitarian catastrophe to pressure Hamas to give up control
Palestinian Prime Minister and other officials from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday, hours before official meetings regarding national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the de facto leaders of besieged coast enclave, are set to begin.
The PA's official news agency Wafa reported that Hamdallah arrived in Gaza via the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing, to a “popular reception.”
Reuters reported that a Hamas police honor guard and hundreds of Palestinians, many of them waving Palestinian flags, welcomed Hamdallah outside the Hamas-controlled checkpoint down the road from the Erez crossing.
According to Wafa, Hamdallah’s delegation will visit a home in the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood of central Gaza City that was destroyed during Israel’s 2014 offensive on the coastal enclave, before holding meetings with various political factions.
On Tuesday, Hamdallah is scheduled to head the PA's weekly cabinet meeting in the enclave, and after the visit, delegations will reportedly head to Cairo to continue reconciliation discussions.
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Israeli news daily Haaretz reported on Monday that during their talks in Cairo, Hamas and Fatah officials are expected to discuss a number of issues central to the conflict, including control of border crossings and the future of Hamas' military wing, which, according to reports, PA President Mahmoud Abbas demands be disbanded.
Hamas recently agreed to allow the national reconciliation government to operate in the Gaza Strip and dissolved its administrative committee -- formed earlier this year to the outrage of the PA, possibly putting an end to a national split in the Palestinian government since a bloody conflict broke out after Hamas won a landslide victory in legislative elections in 2006.
Hamas said the decision came in response to recent diplomatic efforts by Egypt to reconcile the rival factions, while Abbas has been calling on Hamas to relinquish control of the small territory to the PA.
In recent months, the PA has been accused of deliberately sending the impoverished Gaza Strip further into a humanitarian catastrophe -- by slashing funding for Israeli fuel, medicine, and salaries for civil servants and former prisoners -- in order to pressure Hamas to give up control of Gaza.
After Hamas agreed to comply with Abbas' key demands, Hamas called on Abbas to cancel all punitive measures and put an end to carrying out “political arrests” in the occupied West Bank.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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