Gaza’s Rafah crossing passes from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority on Nov. 1; the enclave’s central administration – on Dec. 1
The Egyptian-brokered deal hailed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as “the end of the rift,” is cautiously seen in Cairo as a partial resolution of the dispute between the Fatah and Hamas rival factions.
The reconciliation accord was announced at dawn Thursday, Oct 10, by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh after night-long negotiations at the Egyptian intelligence ministry in Cairo. The promised news conference at which details of the agreement were to be revealed by Egyptian mediators and Palestinian officials did not take place.
Egyptian sources reveal that seven points of agreement were hammered out:
- The two Palestinian parties will meet in one month to set out the date and modalities for elections to the presidency and parliament.
- Before then, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will spend a few days in the Gaza Strip, his first visit there in a decade since Hamas ousted his Fatah party in a military coup..
- A joint Palestinian Authority-Hamas commission will determine procedures for the merger of the PA and Gaza governing administrations. The future of the 60,000 people employed by the Gaza administration must also be decided.
- In the next two weeks, Hamas will transfer into Egyptian hands control of the Rafah border crossing from the Gaza Strip to Egyptian Sinai.
- The Palestinian Authority will take charge of the Rafah crossing from Egyptian officials – not directly from Hamas.
- Up until the parties come to terms on Gaza Strip’s electricity bill – which the Palestinian Authority has refused to cover for months – Egypt and Israel will provide the enclave with fuel for running the grid.
- The main sticking point in the reconciliation process – control of Hamas’ armed wing and arsenal – appears to have been left out of the deal signed Thursday. Hamas has consistently objected to foregoing or sharing control of its militia. Non-Egyptian sources report that the Palestinian Authority is to deploy 30,000 members of its security battalions to the Gaza Strip, but make no mention of coordination between the two forces. Cairo does not refer to this question.
Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction, has fought three wars with the Jewish state and its armed wing is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the European Union and other powers.
Israel has said it will not deal with a Palestinian government that contains Hamas ministers.