Palestinian President Abbas Meets Hamas Leader for First Time in 15 Years

The meeting in Algeria with Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh is the first since the group's armed takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Abbas’ Fatah movement lost parliamentary elections a year earlier

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (second from left) and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh (second from right) at their meeting in Algeria on Tuesday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (second from left) and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh (second from right) at their meeting in Algeria on Tuesday.Credit: Mohamed Al-Hammadi / AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met on Tuesday with the head of Hamas' political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, in Algeria, the first such meeting between the two in 15 years.

Earlier, Palestinian Authority sources said that preparations were being made for the meeting, adding that promoting a unified Palestinian government that includes both Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas is on the agenda. The effort is being made in the hopes that it would pave the way for general elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Algerian Independence Day, Tuesday.Credit: Mohamed Al-Hammadi / AFP

The formal split between the Palestinian Authority, which controls much of the West Bank, and Hamas, the Islamist group that administers the Gaza Strip, dates back to Hamas’ violent takeover of the Strip from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 following Fatah’s loss in parliamentary elections a year before.

Both Abbas and Haniyeh are in Algeria for that country’s Independence Day celebrations, and according to the sources, the Algerians pressed for the meeting. It was also attended by other senior officials from the two sides, including the PA’s intelligence chief, Majed Faraj, and the PA's deputy prime minister, Ziad Abu Amr.

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