First Published: 2017-10-16

Palestinian Authority top official visits Gaza
Muhanna says President Abbas sent him to implement first step of reconciliation agreement which is the taking over of the crossings.
Middle East Online

Muhanna arrives at Erez border crossing

GAZA CITY - The Palestinian Authority's top official for border crossings visited the Gaza Strip on Monday, after Hamas agreed to hand over control of the borders under a landmark reconciliation deal.

The two sides signed a reconciliation agreement in Egypt last week aimed at handing control of the Gaza Strip back to the PA a decade after Fatah and Hamas fought a near civil war.

Nazmi Muhanna told journalists that he had been sent by president Mahmud Abbas to implement the "first step" in the reconciliation agreement, "the taking over of the crossings."

He said he was hopeful that in talks with Hamas they would agree on handing over the borders quickly.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since seizing it in a 2007 near civil war with Abbas's Fatah.

The conflict followed an electoral dispute after parliamentary polls won by the Islamist movement.

The border crossings are seen as a key test case as to whether the reconciliation agreement will succeed.

They are meant to be handed over to the PA by the beginning of November ahead of the full transfer of power in December.

Multiple previous reconciliation attempts have failed.

Gaza borders both Egypt and Israel, but they have been largely sealed off by the two countries in recent years, citing security concerns around Hamas.


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