Hamas reaches out to rival Fatah with goodwill gestures

Gaza, Jan 7: Hamas said Monday that it is taking steps and gestures towards its Fatah rival, which is led by President Mahmoud Abbas, to pave the way for unity, Xinhua reported.

Ismail Haneya, Hamas’ prime minister, said that his government will allow fugitive Fatah members to return to the Gaza Strip, excluding those who face criminal charges, and will release some Fatah members held for security charges.

Hundreds of active Fatah members and officials fled to the West Bank and Egypt when Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized full control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Haneya also told reporters that Gaza-native Fatah members of the Palestinian parliament, who settled in the West Bank after Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, are welcomed to return home.

Hamas previously initiated moves that carried similar gestures. In 2012, it allowed 11 Fatah operatives into Gaza from Egypt.

Hamas and Fatah, which are based in the West Bank, reached several reconciliation agreements over the past three years, but differences over elections and security thwarted the power-sharing pacts.

IANS