London - Conciliatory moves announced by the Palestinian movement Hamas towards its rival Fatah will not be enough to bring an end to the differences between the two sides, let alone form a unity government, observers noted.
Hamas said it was disbanding a committee that was formed to govern Gaza and expressed readiness to hand over all government functions to Fatah. It also agreed to have elections in Gaza, which it controls, and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which is governed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“We have taken practical steps on the ground. The administrative committee no longer functions in Gaza and we are ready, starting now, to welcome the government of national consensus,” Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh said.
Abbas, who was attending a UN General Assembly meeting, spoke by phone with Haniyeh for the first time in nearly a year, cautiously welcoming Hamas’s rapprochement bid without making any commitments. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is to visit Gaza for talks with Hamas officials.
The announcement came following Haniyeh’s return from Cairo, where Egyptian authorities hosted mediation efforts to bring the two Palestinian sides together.