Thursday, September 25, 2014

Unity Government for Gaza

The big news out of Cairo today is that Hamas has agreed to let the Palestinian unity government run the Gaza Strip:
Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement on Thursday by which the unity government run by President Mahmoud Abbas would take "immediate control" of the Gaza Strip, negotiators in Egypt-mediated reconciliation talks told reporters...
The information was confirmed by Azzam Al-Ahmad, the head of the Fatah delegation and Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official based in Cairo.
The Gaza ceasefire struck in August between Israel and the Palestinians included stipulations that the Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas, should take over civil administration in Gaza from Hamas...
The talks between the warring factions was also crucial for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, that suffered great devastation in the war with Israel. The Palestinian Authority said in a study reconstruction work would cost $7.8 billion, two and a half times Gaza's gross domestic product.
The linked article provides more details, and situates the Hamas-Fatah talks in the context of upcoming Israel-Palestinian talks for which the Palestinians hope to present a united front.  What stands out, though, is that Hamas is no longer in control of the Gaza Strip. Recall that while this unity government is backed by Hamas, in practice, it is dominated by Fatah, and Hamas is probably driven to go along with this Fatah domination because of its international isolation after losing Syrian support and being cracked down on by the Sisi government in Egypt.



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