First Published: 2017-10-05

Palestinian PM leaves Gaza after four-day visit
Rami Hamdallah leaves Gaza Strip after visit aimed at reconciliation with Hamas, who have agreed to hand over power to a Palestinian unity government.
Middle East Online

Hamdallah, ministers visiting Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital.

GAZA CITY - Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah left the Gaza Strip on Thursday after a four-day visit aimed at reconciliation with rival party Hamas, an AFP journalist said.

Islamists Hamas agreed to hand over power to a unity government last month and Hamdallah's visit, the first since 2015, saw his ministers take control of ministries in Gaza.

The move is part of wider attempts to end a decade-long split between the internationally recognised Palestinian Authority, which is based in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas, which runs Gaza.

The two sides are set to meet for further talks in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Tuesday.

Before leaving on Thursday morning, Hamdallah and a number of his ministers visited the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, as well as a desalination plant.

He then left with his ministers through the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, which is controlled by Israel, an AFP videographer said.

He is due to return to Ramallah in the West Bank where a meeting of senior members of Fatah, the secular party that dominates the Palestinian Authority, will be held Thursday evening.

Hamas, in a statement, said: "The Gaza Strip and its ministries are under the administration of the national reconciliation government. Hamas will work to support and strengthen its role."

Hamas has ruled the territory since 2007, when it seized it from the Palestinian Authority in a near civil war, and multiple previous reconciliation attempts have failed.

The Islamist movement has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

One of the main stumbling blocks to reconciliation is likely to be Hamas's military wing, with senior officials rejecting the idea of disarming.

Two million people live in Gaza, blockaded by Israel and Egypt and suffering from poverty and electricity shortages.

 

UN considers rejecting Trump Jerusalem decision

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists

18 killed after bomber strikes Mogadishu police academy

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities

US-led air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria

Israel union calls nationwide strike over pharmaceutical giant job cuts

UN envoy urges Putin to press Assad for elections

Yemen's Huthi rebels release pro-Saleh media staff

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison

Saudi king says Palestinians have 'right' to Jerusalem

Erdogan urges world to recognise Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Saudi King says determined to confront corruption

South Sudan needs $1.7 billion humanitarian aid in 2018

UAE oil giant floats 10 percent of retail arm to strong interest

US skeptical about Putin's declaration of military victory in Syria

Growing concern about rise of far-right in Austria

Saudi, UAE seeks to help West Africa fight terrorism