19:48 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Palestinians raise Islamist Hamas movement flags on the top of what remains of the house of Hussam Qawasmeh

    Hamas Gaza Leader Calls for Rescuing Collapsing Reconciliation Project

    © AFP 2019 / HAZEM BADER
    Middle East
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    Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas Gaza leader, on Thursday called for preserving the collapsing Palestinian reconciliation project. Sinwar said that "Palestinian reconciliation is collapsing because some want us to give up our arms and shut down our tunnels."

    The Gaza leader said that the committee for control over the reconciliation process would be formed shortly.

    "We need to rescue reconciliation before it is too late. Especially after Hamas committed to transfer to the government all the ministries and border crossings. We have taken tough measures for reconciliation," Sinwar said during a press conference at a youth forum in Gaza.

    In October, Hamas and its rival Fatah faction signed a reconciliation agreement, implying the transfer of control over the Gaza enclave from Hamas to Fatah by December 1. The deadline was however moved by 10 days, and the process faced what Fatah called "obstacles."

    Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip after a short war with the rival Fatah in 2007, which led to the enclave’s blockade. Fatah has repeatedly criticized Hamas for splitting the country and blocking the Palestinian Unity Government, created in 2014, from ruling Gaza.

    In September, Hamas announced its decision to dissolve the administrative committee, which has been running the Gaza Strip since 2007, and start talks with Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority's President Mahmoud Abbas, that controls the West Bank, to hold general elections in Palestine.

    In early October, the Palestinian Unity Government held its first session in Gaza since 2014 as part of implementation of the arrangements aiming to settle the long-standing conflict between the Palestinian parties.

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    Tags:
    border, critics, authorities, peace process, talks, conflict, agreement, reconciliation, Fatah, Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, Palestine, Gaza
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