Hamas Moves to End Dispute with Abbas's Fatah Movement

In a statement, Hamas said it was "responding to the generous Egyptian efforts, which reflect the Egyptian desire to end the split and achieve reconciliation, and based on our desire to achieve national unity". Hamas and Fatah then fought a civil war in Gaza in 2007. Previous efforts to heal the rift between Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which the United States and Israel see as a terrorist organization, have failed.

Hamas announced on Sunday 26 Elul, night that they were prepared to begin reconciliation talks with the Fatah movement and meant to go with it until a general election was held in the Palestinian Authority.

"Hamas is ready to resume dialogue with the Fatah movement on implementing the Cairo reconciliation agreement of 2011 on the formation of a unity government with other Palestinian factions", said the leaflet.

The Hamas movement announced early Sunday that it is ready to hand over the Gaza Strip to the consensus government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Among the demands are fresh elections in the West Bank and Gaza, which Hamas has boycotted due to it winning the last election that led to the split.

It also was not immediate clear how Egypt's latest effort aligns with its previous tacit support for a separate Gaza power-sharing deal between Hamas and Mohammed Dahlan, an exiled former Abbas aide-turned-rival.

Hoping to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, Abbas has cut payments to Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza.

Abbas has viewed Hamas' control as a shadow government and called for the dissolution of Hamas' administration. "The administrative committee is now dissolved and the government can come to Gaza today to assume its responsibilities and duties".

Gaza's economy is in tatters and it has one of the world's highest unemployment rates.

Hamas has been greatly weakened by three losing armed conflicts with Israel since 2008, worldwide isolation and one of the world's highest unemployment rates.

However, in a statement made on Monday following a meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo, the group said it was prepared to start talks with Fatah.

"This puts Abu Mazen and Fatah to the real test", Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement on Hamas' official website.

Despite Sunday's announcement, any reconciliation deal would still face many obstacles.

Israel has blockaded Gaza for a decade, and its border with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.

  • Rogelio Becker