Egypt presented a new framework for a Palestinian reconciliation deal to the leadership of Hamas, according to a report published by London-based Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat. The proposal demands that Hamas lower the intensity of daily clashes along the Israel border and the return of control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.
However, officials in both Hamas and Fatah do not expect the new document to lead to any tangible progress in the negotiations between the two Palestinian sides.
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The Egyptian proposals were presented to Hamas leaders, including the head of the group’s political bureau Ismail Haniyeh, in a meeting with general Ahmed Abed Khalk of Egyptian intelligence on Thursday in Gaza. Al-Hayat quoted senior Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah saying the demands reflect an Egyptian attempt to meet the PA’s positions over those of Hamas.
According to the Egyptian document, Hamas will agree to establish a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, as Hamas had previously agreed to with Fatah. The document further demands restraint from Hamas's military wing and the Islamist group agreeing not to intervene in government matters.
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Egypt also demanded that Hamas allow PA ministers to return to their ministries in Gaza without any involvement of factions in Gaza, and to return the control of the security services, police, legal system and other authorities to the PA. In return, the Palestinian government will fund half of the salaries of the tens of thousands of Hamas officials, until the two sides reach a final agreement on the issue, Al-Hayat reported.
The atmosphere during the meeting in Gaza was not positive, wrote Al-Hayat. During the meeting Hamas said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's threats to impose additional sanctions on the Gaza Strip is him "playing with fire." Hamas added that they are not afraid of Israeli threats.
The Egyptian delegation will hold talks on Friday on reconciliation with the PA in Ramallah.
Haniyeh said last week that Hamas will continue its contacts with international groups to advance a plan for a cease-fire with Israel regardless of progress in the inter-Palestinian reconciliation. At the same time Hamas also understands that such a step cannot be implemented effectively without Egypt, who at the moment, believes that reconciliation is the main condition necessary for reaching a long-term cease-fire in Gaza.