In New Unity Step, PA Lifts 7-year Ban on pro-Hamas Newspaper

Following reconciliation deal reached as peace talks with Israel collapsed, Hamas and Fatah move closer together.

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Palestinians reading the pro-Islamist newspaper "Falasteen" in Hebron, May 10, 2014.
Palestinians reading the pro-Islamist newspaper "Falasteen" in Hebron, May 10, 2014.Credit: AFP
Reuters
Reuters

A pro-Islamist newspaper was sold in the West Bank on Saturday for the first time in seven years, another sign of a Palestinian unity pact that prompted Israel to suspend peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

His Palestinian Authority permitted printers to roll out the tabloid, "Falasteen", Arabic for Palestine, three days after Hamas Islamists in control of Gaza allowed a leading West Bank daily to be sold in their midst.

Abbas's Fatah movement and Hamas announced a unity pact on April 23, with the stated aim of forming a joint government in five weeks, angering Israel and spurring it to shelve already faltering peace talks soon after.

Hamas rejects Israel's existence and both the Jewish state and United States regard the group as a terrorist organization. It seized Gaza from Fatah forces in a brief 2007 civil war.

Iyad Al-Qara, director general of Falesteen, said its reappearance in the West Bank was "a positive and important step towards pushing reconciliation forward."

The newspaper was last sold in the West Bank in 2007 when ties ruptured over Hamas's bloody seizure of control in Gaza, while Fatah retained control in the West Bank.

Al-Quds, the biggest-selling Palestinian daily in the West Bank, resumed sales in Gaza on Wednesday. The newspaper is printed in East Jerusalem and includes articles critical of a wide spectrum of political parties.

Abbas met Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Qatar earlier this week in a further step to bolster the latest of a series of efforts to heal the Palestinian political rift.

Deep mistrust and enmity have scuppered previous deals, with both sides struggling to reconcile Hamas's commitment to fighting Israel with Abbas's choice to negotiate with it.

In the past two weeks, Hamas and Fatah have both been following through with unity steps. Last week Hamas lifted the ban on an independent West Bank publication and released six Fatah prisoners.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Karolina Bielowka.

'My Uncle Told Me, ‘Go on the Trip of Your Life, Go Dig in Israel.’ So I Did'

The replica ship, 'Ma’agan Mikhael II,' sailing from Haifa to Acre in northern Israel.

Replica of 2,400-year-old Ship Solves Ancient Mediterranean Mystery

File photo: Bus operated by Kavim company.

Ultra-Orthodox Extremists Assault Woman for Sitting at Front of Jerusalem Bus