PA elections officials to visit Gaza in bid to revive unity deal (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Avi Issacharoff and The Associated Press 05/27/12)
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Palestinian elections officials are due to arrive in the Gaza Strip
on Monday, ahead of joint Fatah-Hamas elections which the sides
envision taking place later this year, and which serve as a
centerpiece for the floundering Palestinian reconciliation deal.
The planned arrival of the PA´s central elections´ committee, geared
at preparing a voters´ list for the planned elections, is one result
of a meeting between Hamas and Fatah officials in Cairo last week, in
which the rival groups said they agreed on a new timetable for a
Reconciliation efforts have stalled repeatedly, and it remains to be
seen if these latest developments, brokered by Egypt, would end the
The Islamic militant Hamas seized Gaza from Fatah´s leader,
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in 2007, leaving him with only
the West Bank. A unity deal was reached earlier this year but hung up
over disagreements over whether Abbas should head an interim
government that prepares for elections.
At least partially responsible for that deal´s undoing was the
opposition by Hamas´ Gaza leadership to the possibility of Abbas
being named prime minister of the new government.
However, it seems that both talks in Cairo and their possible
ratification in the arrival of elections official in Gaza, point at a
change in Hamas´ leadership, the motivation of which is not yet clear.
Speaking after last week´s meeting, Azzam Ahmed of Fatah and Fawzi
Barhoum of Hamas said the sides agreed that the interim government
should be formed by the first week of June and remain in office for
Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the
Gaza Strip, have been attempting to implement a reconciliation
agreement brokered by Egypt and signed last year in Cairo. That
agreement included the formation of a unity government and the
holding of elections in May 2012.
Israel has rejected the agreement, refusing to negotiate with a
government involving Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction
of Israel. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/27/12)
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