Hamas dissolves Gaza administration, aiming to build unity government

Hamas dissolves Gaza administration, aiming to build unity government

Paving the way for possible reconciliation between the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas said Sunday it would dissolve the Gaza administrative committee, allowing a unity government to work in its place and agree on general elections.

The group said in an emailed statement that it had agreed to dismantle the administrative committee that runs Gaza and hold nationwide elections.

Punishing measures included reducing electricity payments for the Gaza strip and cutting salaries for civil servants there.

Last Tuesday, Fatah Central Committee Member Azzam al-Ahmad, who is now leading the Fatah delegation in Cairo, said if Hamas disbands its administrative committee, Abbas would lift its punitive measures against it. Elections were also never held.

The Hamas movement said in a press statement that the announcement comes in response to the Egyptian efforts, led by the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, out of an Egyptian concern for achieving Palestinian reconciliation and ending the division.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas says it is aiming for talks with rivals Fatah as it aims to end their decade-long feud.

Since then, the Palestinian leadership has been divided between two rival governments. It also represents Hamas' aspiration to get a seat at the table should President Donald Trump's efforts at restoring the "peace process" with Israel succeed.

Forming the committee outraged Abbas and urged him to carry out punitive measures against Gaza.

It added that it had decided to make the announcement in response to Egyptian efforts to achieve reconciliation and end internal Palestinian divisions.

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

Talal Oukal, a Gaza-based political analyst and academic said there is apparently "a wave of optimism this time because it seems that the Egyptians are more serious than before", adding that Hamas and Egypt's ties are getting better, so Hamas "is keen to keep these ties good with Egypt". A delegation from Abbas' Fatah arrived in the Egyptian capital two days ago.

Still, it's not clear whether Hamas will brush away a formidable obstacle to reconciliation by putting its security forces under Abbas's control. But he said more information was needed before considering it a done deal.

Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, has not yet commented on the moves by Hamas.