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Hamas backs calls for reconciliation of Palestinian factions

Ismail Haniyeh announced Hamas's acceptance of the initiative to end the political divide [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 September, 2019

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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced he stands behind the call for unity made by eight Palestinian factions last week.
The leader of Gaza's ruling party Hamas said on Thursday that his movement would unconditionally back the call to end the internal divisions between various Palestinian groups. 

Ismail Haniyeh announced his approval of the call made by eight Palestinian factions last week during a news conference in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The conference followed a meeting between Haniyeh and the leaders of the other factions.

"Hamas's acceptance of the initiative comes from our awareness of the current circumstances and the real strategic threats to our cause, and our belief that national unity is an obligation and a national necessity," Haniyeh said. 

"It's impossible for a people suffering under occupation to be successful in its liberation efforts without a genuine and coherent internal unity."

Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh congratulated Hamas for its unconditional backing and called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to announce the initiative's success.

Haniyeh also called on rival group Fatah to respond positively to the initiative but so far no official comment has been issued.

Fatah leaders have described the initiative as unnecessary and called on Hamas to implement a previous agreement signed between the two groups in 2017.

Eight Palestinian groups announced the initiative to reconcile Fatah and Hamas on Thursday.

Among the groups are Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the People’s Party.

The Islamist Hamas movement controls the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Authority headed by Abbas is based in the West Bank, where Israel also maintains a military occupation.

Palestinian politics has been effectively frozen since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in a 2007 near-civil war, a year after winning parliamentary elections.

Multiple reconciliation attempts have failed.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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