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Hamas says Fatah members can return to Gaza
Published Monday 06/01/2014 (updated) 10/01/2014 21:30
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Young Fatah supporters hold on Jan. 4, 2013 their first mass rally in
Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007
(AFP/File Mohammed Abed)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya reached out to West Bank rivals Fatah on Monday, saying its members would be allowed back into Gaza, in efforts to promote Palestinian reconciliation.

"The (Hamas) government will allow all Fatah members who are from Gaza and who left the Strip (in 2007) to return, without any preconditions," apart from those accused of killing Hamas members during intense factional fighting that year, Haniya said.

Speaking to reporters after a visit to the Hamas interior ministry in Gaza City, he added the authorities would "release a small number of Fatah members who are imprisoned (in Gaza) for security reasons."

Fatah MPs, who are based in the West Bank, would also be allowed to visit Gaza, Haniya added.

Hamas in recent months has reached out to Fatah, which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, as Israel and Egypt have tightened a blockade on the Islamist movement's Gaza enclave.

Haniya spoke via telephone to Fatah leader and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in October, stressing the need for reconciliation and "a return to national unity."

Longtime tensions between Hamas and Fatah boiled over in a week of fighting in 2007 that left the Islamist movement in charge of the impoverished coastal strip.

The fighting came a year and half after Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestinian general elections, leading to a Western boycott of the government.

Since the takeover both movements have launched tit-for-tat crackdowns on their rivals in the areas under their control.

The two sides have made repeated attempts to heal the rift, most recently by signing an Egyptian-brokered deal in 2011 in which they pledged to set up an interim government of independents to pave the way for new elections.

The agreement has never been implemented.

The Islamist movement says it has been under severe pressure since the Egyptian army destroyed hundreds of tunnels used to smuggle fuel and goods into the blockaded Gaza Strip following its overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi.

Hamas is the Palestinian branch of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.
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1 ) Mel / USA
06/01/2014 18:50
Good!Good!Good! Take off your FACTIONAL BLINKERS & wear your UNITED NATIONAL,RESISTANCE,FACES with pride! Because if you don't unite, you WON'T have any FACTION WORTH HAVING,because there won't be any PALESTINE LEFT,to argue over! You can argue all you like as Palestinain brothers later! But when a LARGER enemy standds at the door to DESTROY your home,you UNITE! Or be a faction of NOTHING? Don't let anyone take your UNITY,identity,RIGHTS,away!

2 ) Quote / Unquote
06/01/2014 18:59
Islamist government? They were voted in office If hamas is Islamist , what is fatah The religion of the the state of Palestine is islam.

3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
06/01/2014 19:27
Anybody out there trust Haniyeh and Hamas? After they murdered hundreds of Fatah men, who would trust them?

4 ) Bemused / New Zealand
07/01/2014 01:06
Now it is Abbas's turn to release all the Hamas members he has detained, to show good faith in the reconciliation negotiations.... Mel is absolutely correct.

5 ) Rachamim Dwek / Israel
07/01/2014 10:44
After dropping Fatah members off of Gaza City hirises headfirst HAMAS is now making nice with Fatah.Funny how it only happened after 95% of the tunnels have been closed, PIJ,PFLP,DFLP,Salafists and Tamrod have ALL come out against HAMAS. Now that HAMAS is desperate it smiles at Abbas, the man single handedly responsible for the almost 7 year Blockade.

6 ) Hamas Fan / Ard Rabbina
07/01/2014 14:43
PM Haniyeh is a wonderful role model for the people of Gaza & for Plaestinians. What happened during the fighting in 2007 (which was instigated & exaserbated by US/Isreal & friends not recognising Hamas win in the elections) is a stain on both Hamas & Fatah. All involved should sincerely repent (Taubah) & draw a line under it. Either call an amnesty on those involved, or if there is a real need to bring anyone left to trial, do so with clemency. Brothers should not be enemies, in Islam.
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