On October 12, in Cairo, the representatives of the Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement according to which, the central authorities of Palestine will have to establish full administrative control over the Gaza Strip until December 1. It was also announced, that a meeting of all Palestinian political parties and organizations to discuss further steps on achievement of the national unity will be held in Egypt’s capital on November 21.
As Asharq Al-Awsat writes in the article ‘Cairo Agreement’ Closes Chapter of Palestinian Division, Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told reporters after the signing ceremony in Cairo that the agreement inked with Hamas’ representative Saleh al-Arouri would empower a national unity government to assume its full authorities in Gaza, the first among other steps to follow in line with the agreement, which declared December 1 as the deadline for the Palestinian Authority to take over the Gaza Strip.
The reconciliation deal also allows the PA to take over Gaza’s border crossings with Egypt and Israel no later than November 1, while the PA Presidential Guard forces would control the Rafah crossing and the border with Egypt at a later time, in coordination with Cairo.
Directly after the signing of the deal, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said the agreement “strengthens and hastens the process of ending the division and restoring unity of the Palestinian people, land and institutions.” The president also called on his government and all security apparatuses to work for implementing the agreement.
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah responded by saying his cabinet was ready to immediately start assuming all responsibilities to govern the Gaza Strip. Hamdallah also said he will soon travel to Gaza. The prime minister visited the enclave earlier this month following the first agreement between Fatah and Hamas allowing the PA government to assume its administrative responsibility there. Meanwhile, in Gaza, Palestinians celebrated carrying Abbas’ photos for the first time since Hamas controlled the Strip in 2007. Hamdallah would carry his duties until the establishment of a national unity government, which Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions are expected to discuss during a meeting in Cairo on November 21.
Abbas will visit Gaza for the first time in a decade within a month. His trip is expected to announce the end of the division between the two Palestinian sides. Munir al-Jaghoub, who heads Fatah’s Information Department, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “There is no doubt that the President is going to Gaza, but there is still no schedule for his visit. The issue needs wide preparations.”
Meanwhile, Moscow greeted the inter-Palestinian agreements reached due to the active participation of Egypt, having decided that they meet the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people. The Russian Foreign Ministry called on the Palestinian parties to fulfill all the planned steps within the ultimate goal of achieving unity on the political platform of the Palestine Liberation Organization and significantly improving the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Moscow hopes that such development should contribute to the emergence of the Middle East peace process from the current impasse and help the resumption of direct talks on the final Palestinian-Israeli settlement on the well-known international legal basis.
The day after the signing of the agreement, Russia's special envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with the executive secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, Jibril Rajoub, in Moscow. Details of the meeting are not reported. It is only known that the issue of the meeting was the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, the situation in the Palestinian territories, with an emphasis on the final settlement of the intra-Palestinian split, taking into account the recent positive developments with the assistance of Egypt.