The two factions, which separately control Gaza and the West Bank, have been at odds since 2007.
The Palestinian factions, led by the nationalist party Fatah and the islamist Hamassigned a reconciliation agreement on Thursday to end fifteen years of division, after two days of negotiations in Algeria.
The call “Algiers Declaration”signed under the auspices of the Algerian president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, “will constitute a solid platform for the achievement of unity among the various Palestinian factions that have reached an unprecedented consensus,” Algeria announced in a statement collected by the APS news agency.
The general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, Mustafa Barghouti, announced that the factions had accepted a large part of the Algerian reconciliation document, which contemplates holding presidential and legislative elections within a year from the signing of the agreement.
Tebboune met last July with the political leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniye, who participated in these negotiations, and the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Mahmoud Abbas, who was absent from the meetings and today traveled to the regional summit in Astana , Kazakhstan, where he held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The negotiations of these two days were preceded by months of high-level meetings in Algiers during which the factions presented their vision to end fifteen years of division and successive failed attempts at reconciliation.
During the last days, Palestinian sources assured that “the draft of the Algerian document establishes the formation of a Palestinian unity government”.
In Algeria, no information about the meetings has emerged, while Palestinian sources assure that the Algerian draft deals with “Palestinian unity” and “practical measures” to resolve the division of more than fifteen years.
Reformulate the election of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); expedite the holding of general, presidential and legislative elections in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem; or forming a government of national unity are some of the points accepted in the Algerian proposal.
At odds since 2007, when Hamas expelled the Fatah forces from the Gaza Strip and since then they have each governed geographically separate Palestinian enclaves (Gaza and the West Bank, respectively), various mediators, such as Egypt or Qatar, have tried to intervene to put an end to to the division.
The most recent attempt was in 2017, when Fatah and Hamas announced, with Egypt as mediator, an agreement by which the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), which controls the West Bank, would retake control of Gaza and legislative and presidential elections would be called, postponed “sine die”.
The Palestinian factions praised the “legitimacy” of these negotiations, sponsored by Algeria, a country that has promoted this new attempt ahead of the Arab League summit, to be held on November 1 and 2 in the Algerian capital.
“This blessed initiative bodes well for the Palestinian people (…) We are satisfied with the results of this conference marked by openness, positive interaction and understanding,” Haniye declared at the conclusion of the negotiations.
Azam al Ahmad, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, stressed that the Algerian initiative “comes to put an end to an inter-Palestinian division of more than 15 years, which has weakened the Palestinian cause.”
The secretary general of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (FLPP), Ahmed Majdalani, valued the Conference as an “undeniable” demonstration of the interest of Algeria, whose “national objectives” are “the right of return of refugees and the establishment of the Palestinian state Independent”.
Algeria is “the only country that does not have narrow calculations in this regard, as well as supports the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” Tebboune defended.
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