Palestinian prime minister to arrive in Gaza

Monday, 02 October 2017, 04:28:28 PM. After a decade of divide, the Palestinian Authority is expected to take over the administration of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is expected to arrive in the occupied Gaza Strip on Monday, in the latest effort at national reconciliation between the West Bank-based PA and the Hamas government in Gaza.

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The visit is Hamdallah's first to Gaza in two years. PA officials will be meeting with their Hamas counterparts, and are expected to take control of the territory's administration and hold their weekly cabinet meeting in the besieged enclave. 

On Sunday, Hamdallah chaired a cabinet meeting in advance of the visit to Gaza and announced committees for crossings, employees and security.

"We look forward to turning over the page of division forever, and achieving comprehensive national reconciliation that would strengthen the perseverance of our people and preserve their rights," Iyad al-Buzom, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior in Gaza, said in a statement. 

Hamdallah will also be visiting the Shujayea neighbourhood, where the Israeli army committed a massacre during the 2014 war on Gaza. 

An Egyptian security delegation led by the Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Hazem Khairat, will be monitoring the reconciliation process. 


READ MORE: Hamas ready to reconcile with Fatah - reports


After a Hamas delegation met Egyptian diplomats in Cairo late last month, the movement decided it would dissolve its administrative committee and expressed its willingness to reconcile with its rival, the Fatah political party, after a decade of division. 

Hamas has been the de-facto ruler in the Gaza Strip since 2007 after the party defeated President Mahmoud Abbas' long-dominant Fatah party in parliamentary elections.

Hamas then pushed Fatah out of Gaza in a bloody conflict, when the latter refused to recognise the result of the vote. Hamas and Fatah have ruled the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively ever since, and multiple attempts at reconciliation have since failed for several reasons. 

The latest attempt in 2014 was thwarted when Israel launched a 51-day war against Gaza. 

Hamas' control over security and its nature as an armed resistance movement have also constituted an obstacle for the PA, which cooperates with Israel on security-related matters, as laid out in the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993 and 1995 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel. 


READ MORE: Is the PLO facing a legitimacy crisis?


While administrative control will be handed over, the Hamas government will retain authority over security, a factor that political analysts say is likely to result in the failure of the unity government. 

Abdulsattar Qassem, a political science professor at the an-Najah University in Nablus in the occupied West Bank, said it was "very unlikely that there will be lasting reconciliation". 

"This is all just an exercise. The PA does not believe in the legitimacy of Hamas' arms. This means that the PA wants to end the resistance in Gaza and Hamas refuses that. And if Fatah accepts the resistance, Israel will take measures against the PA," Qassem told Al Jazeera.

"This will inevitably lead to the destruction of the potential new unity government. For this reason, this week, and for the coming months, Hamas and Fatah will attempt not to speak about Oslo and the issue of resistance. At least, to appear successful before the Palestinian people. But at the end of the day, Israel will not accept this."


READ MORE: Why Fatah and Hamas won't reconcile


Over the last few months, Hamas has been under heavy pressure from Abbas' measures against Gaza, aimed at pressuring Hamas to relinquish control of the territory.

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