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Palestinian government's session in Gaza focus of dailies — Newspapers Review

04 October 2017

This marks a major step towards reconciliation between the mainstream Fatah party and Islamist group Hamas.

Sitting in his garden in Gaza City, Yasser al Kurdi hopes for a change. "This time, both parties are serious about making the reconciliation project/unity government last". For the past decade, he has not been able to work.

"We are here to turn the page on division, restore the national project to its correct direction and establish the (Palestinian) state", said Hamdallah, in his opening remarks on Tuesday.

Over recent weeks Fatah - which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank - and Hamas, which controls Gaza, have engaged in a spurt of activity seen as the furthest the two sides have gone to make amends since their split amid a near-civil war in 2006-7. "In Gaza, we are all brors in West Bank".

At the beginning of the meeting, which took place at the official Gaza residence of Abbas in Gaza, Hamdallah pledged to end the rift.

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They suffer from desperate shortages of electricity and high unemployment.

But in September, Hamas announced it would dissolve its administrative committee in the Strip and seek a unity government "to assume its duties immediately". Any insistence on the part of Egypt or Hamas on a substantial role for Dahlan in the governance of Gaza would probably be a red line for Abbas.

It followed that up by getting Israel to drastically cut Gaza's power supply.

Hamas has long rejected those conditions.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Abbas staked out a tough line on reconciliation with Hamas, warning he would not tolerate any solution short of the disarming of its Izzedin Al Qasam militia. He was accompanied by a large delegation of Fatah officials from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, dozens of aides and armed bodyguards. The United States welcomed cautiously the return of the Authority to Gaza, stressing that any palestinian government must renounce violence and recognize Israel.

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For Hamas to foreswear the option of resistance so soon after reaffirming it (in the most important policy document it has issued since its 1988 charter) would be tantamount to total capitulation. They have already made it clear that they do not intend to lay down their arms and will remain active. Other issues still in dispute will be discussed next week in Cairo.

Fatah and Hamas are trying to reach a final deal on reconciliation in Gaza. The organizations in Gaza needs to relinquish their weapons. This time around, at least for the moment, Liberman is keeping quiet. He also called for global pressure on Israel to lift its economic "siege" of the Gaza.

TRT World's Nicole Johnston has more. Unemployment is estimated at well over 40 percent, Gaza's 2 million residents are virtually barred from traveling overseas, and residents receive electricity for just a few hours a day. "We want to be one state, with one governing body, with one law, and one military body", he said.

"Hamas demanded that the people's grievances be addressed in the meeting", he said. "It really feels like this is the last chance".

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Palestinian government's session in Gaza focus of dailies — Newspapers Review