Saturday 24 February 2018

Palestinian PM arrives in Gaza for key reconciliation effort

A poster of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah hangs on a street in Gaza City (AP)
A poster of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah hangs on a street in Gaza City (AP)

The Palestinian prime minister has arrived in Gaza for the most ambitious attempt yet to reconcile rival Palestinian factions.

Rami Hamdallah drove through the Erez Crossing on Monday, heading a large delegation of Fatah officials from the West Bank in an attempt to end a 10-year rift with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

In a significant concession, Hamas has offered to turn over all governing responsibilities to Mr Hamdallah. However key sticking points, primarily Hamas' refusal to disarm its powerful military wing, are likely to complicate or even derail the reconciliation efforts in the coming weeks.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 after overrunning the Fatah-led forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Abbas' Palestinian Authority has since governed only in autonomous enclaves of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Repeated attempts to reconcile have failed.

Press Association

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