The Times of Israel reports: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held a rare meeting with the heads of rival party Hamas in Qatar on Thursday, in direct talks aimed at ending years of hostility between the two movements.
The 81-year-old Abbas met with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal and Hamas’s Gaza leader, Ismail Haniyeh, for a “business lunch” in Doha, the PA’s official news agency Wafa said.
According to the report, the two sides agreed on the need to end the almost decade-long internecine battle, stating that “reconciliation is the main pathway to protecting the Palestinian national project and to counter the Israeli government plots aimed at destroying the two-state option.”
Wafa’s account was at odds with Hamas’s general narrative: The terror group in control of Gaza does not officially support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead openly declaring it seeks to retake historic Palestine through violent means.
Hamas has been in conflict with Abbas’s Fatah movement, which runs the West Bank, since 2007, despite multiple attempts to broker reconciliation.
Read more here.