Palestinian factions to discuss reconciliation efforts in Algeria
Palestinian delegations, including Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) of the West Bank and the Hamas movement, arrived in Algeria on Saturday as they accepted invitations from the Algerian ambassador in Qatar to visit Algiers to discuss launching a Palestinian national dialogue.
The Hamas delegation included two members of its political bureau, Khalil al-Hayya, and Hussam Badran, according to a press statement issued by the movement, which rules the besieged Gaza Strip.
The Fatah delegation was headed by Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Executive Committees of the Liberation Organization and the Central Committee of Fatah, according to Fayez Abu Eita, a senior Fatah official.
Abu Eita told the Palestinian official agency Wafa that the Fatah delegation will hold its first meeting with Algerian officials to discuss reaching a "successful dialogue" aimed at reaching a reconciliation among Palestinian factions.
The Palestinian division began in 2007 after Hamas took control of the Strip and expelled Fatah leaders from the besieged coastal strip.
The two movements had formerly engaged in numerous discussions with Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in a bid to reach a comprehensive reconciliation agreement, but all the efforts failed.
Palestinian citizens expressed their doubts over the possibility of a successful Algerian bid, accusing the PA and Hamas of "not being serious about ending their rift, which has lasted years".
"The two movements held many meetings and signed many agreements, but unfortunately, the result is always nothing and there is no change," said Salim al-Khaldy, a university lecturer in the Gaza Strip.
"It seems that the two movements are achieving their own interests by maintaining this division and are not interested in the lives of an entire people fighting to live in safety and peace," al-Khaldy added.
Raeda Weshahi from Gaza agreed, adding that "Every time [Palestinians] pinned [their] hopes on [a possible reconciliation], the two movements insist on disappointing us."