Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to make Gaza for Hamas reconciliation talks

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to make Gaza for Hamas reconciliation talks
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will visit Gaza, to speak with Hamas officials about reconciliation talks.
3 min read
18 September, 2017
Palestinain PM Rami Hamdallah [Getty]

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is poised to visit Gaza for talks with Hamas officials, a senior official told AFP on Monday, after the Islamist movement agreed to fulfill Fatah's demands for national unity.

Hamas announced on Sunday it had agreed to a Palestinian Authority ultimatum to dissolve what is seen as a rival administration in Gaza.

The Gaza-based authority also said it was ready for elections and negotiations towards forming a unity government.

Hamdallah plans to travel to the beseiged Gaza Strip to meet Hamas officials and assert the government's control over ministries Nabil Shaath - a senior advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - told journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

It is seen as a first step towards implementing a larger agreement.

"We await the first steps on the ground. We want to see Mr. Hamdallah received by Hamas, the door to all the ministries open," he said. "That really could happen in the next 24 hours."

Abbas - whose presidency expired in 2009 - runs the authority located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but it has had no control in Gaza for a decade.

Hamdallah has not visited the beseiged enclave since 2015, and a previous attempt at a unity government fell apart that year, with the two sides exchanging blame.

In April, the PA started to end energy payments to Israel for Gaza, causing frequent power cuts in the besieged territory and severe pressure on regional hospitals.

The World Health Organisation warned in June that the blackouts threatened Gaza's health service provision and placed people's lives at real risk.

He also reduced the salaries of some employees in Gaza, while the number of Gazans receiving PA permits to travel for medical care has declined.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights, based in the West Bank, called such measures to be reversed after Hamas dissolved the so-called administrative committee, seen as a rival government and created in March.

Shaath said Abbas wanted to reverse the punitive measures, but he did not give a timetable. 

"When the president supported these economic measures (against Gaza) he said they will stop immediately once the self-rule governance of Hamas ends and the consensus government takes place. He didn't put any other conditions whatsoever."

Abbas is due to address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, after meeting with US President Donald Trump.​

Abbas' senior adviser also warned that Trump must back a two state solution if there was ever to be peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

"It would be utterly ridiculous if Mr Trump doesn't eventually say that," Shaath said.

"What the hell are we negotiating? We are negotiating a diplomatic accord between Abu Mazen [Abbas] and Mr [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu where they can meet each other? No."