Palestinian delegations head to Egypt for unity talks

The Israeli army shelled Gaza after a failed attempt by a militant group to fire a rocket into Israel on Sunday night, its army said.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have remained politically and administratively divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of the strip from Fatah following several days of street fighting.

Newly appointed Hamas deputy leader Salah al-Aruri and the movement's Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar will lead the Hamas delegation, a spokesman said in a statement.

Speaking to Anadolu, the prominent Hamas leader in West Bank Hassan Yousef said that three Hamas officials might travel to Cairo to take part in the reconciliation talks if Israel, which controls the crossings, allows them to leave. "We are proceeding step by step".

"We will continue to fight smuggling at all times in order to ensure that only goods that have been coordinated and approved in advance enter Gaza and that they do not assist terrorist elements", Shaked added.

Yousef said Egypt was seeking to convince Israeli authorities to allow the three Hamas leaders to leave the West Bank to Cairo to attend the reconciliation talks.

In 2006, Hamas swept the Palestinian legislative elections, clenching 44.5 percent of the vote and securing 74 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. "We are in the stage of national liberation".

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) conducted a poll that found two-thirds of Palestinians believe Abbas should resign, while half of those polled consider the Palestinian Authority a "burden on the Palestinian people". "For example, Hamas could abandon [former Fatah senior official Mohammed] Dahlan's understandings or foreign support if the government provided favorable conditions to end the economic crisis in Gaza - but [Hamas] will not give up its weapons".

  • Rogelio Becker