TEL AVIV – A delegation of Hamas officials will head to Cairo next week for reconciliation talks with rival party Fatah, Palestinian news agency Maan reported.
The reconciliation initiative is part of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s larger plan to resume direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian parties.
Both Fatah and Hamas have welcomed Sisi’s initiative.
The meeting, which was supposed to have been held last week, was postponed because of security concerns in the Sinai Peninsula. However, the parties met on Wednesday in Qatar to discuss implementation of a reconciliation.
Previous reconciliation agreements have not been honored by either side.
In May, Sisi called on Israelis and Palestinians to take historic steps towards “peace” as Egypt did in 1979.
“I ask Israeli factions and the Israeli leadership to please agree on finding a solution to the crisis, and this should be in return for nothing but good for the current, future generations and children,” Sisi said.
“I say to our Palestinian brothers, you must unite the different factions – and I won’t add anything else to this point – in order to achieve reconciliation, and quickly,” he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who the same week rejected a French peace plan, said he will embrace Sisi’s plan:
“I welcome Egyptian President Sisi’s remarks and his willingness to make every effort to advance a future of peace and security between us, the Palestinians, and the peoples of the region,” Netanyahu said.
“Israel is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region. I appreciate President Sisi’s work and also draw encouragement from his leadership on this important issue,” he added.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also expressed support for the initiative.
“Put it all to the side and let’s negotiate,” Abbas told Hebrew-language Maariv. “We aren’t far apart [physically] and we cooperate on a daily basis. Don’t push us to the wall. We will all lose.”
This past Wednesday, Fatah and Hamas reconciliation talks were held in Qatar. The talks were expected to focus on the implementation of previous reconciliation agreements.
Following Hamas’ election in Gaza in 2006, the two parties have remained in conflict. Hamas fears that Fatah will insist the terror group relinquish some control of the Gaza Strip in return for reconciliation, while Fatah is concerned that a rapprochement will draw ire from Washington and Jerusalem.