Fatah chief and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal during peace talks between the two rival groups in Qatar in 2014
Fatah chief and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal during peace talks between the two rival groups in Qatar in 2014
Photo: Reuters
Fatah chief and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal during peace talks between the two rival groups in Qatar in 2014

Fatah, Hamas say deal reached on new Palestinian elections

First round of voting in almost 15 years expected to take place within six months; move comes after series of unity talks between all Palestinian factions in wake of Israel's normalization agreements with UAE and Bahrain

AFP |
Published: 09.24.20 , 18:27
Gaza rulers Hamas and their rivals in the West Bank, Fatah, have agreed to hold the first Palestinian elections in nearly 15 years, officials from both sides told AFP on Thursday.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Polls will be scheduled within six months under a deal reached between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who also leads Fatah, and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh.
    Fatah chief and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal during peace talks between the two rival groups in Qatar in 2014 Fatah chief and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal during peace talks between the two rival groups in Qatar in 2014
    Fatah chief and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal during peace talks between the two rival groups in Qatar in 2014
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "We have agreed to first hold legislative elections, then presidential elections of the Palestinian Authority, and finally the central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization," said Jibril Rajub, a senior Fatah official.
    The last Palestinian parliamentary elections were held in 2006 when Hamas won an unexpected landslide.
    Saleh al-Arouri, a top Hamas official, said the deal was reached during meetings held in Turkey.
    "This time we reached a real consensus," he said, speaking by phone from Istanbul.
    "Divisions have damaged our national cause and we are working to end that," Arouri added.
    Members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza Members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza
    Members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza
    (Photo: EPA)
    The two sides formed a unity government following the 2006 polls, but it soon collapsed and bloody clashes erupted in the Gaza Strip the following year, which led to Hamas seizing control of the coastal enclave and kicking out Fatah.
    Hamas has since ruled Gaza, while Fatah has dominated the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
    A Palestinian supporter waves a yellow Fatah flag during a celebration marking the 55th anniversary of the Fatah movement in Gaza City, Dec. 31, 2019A Palestinian supporter waves a yellow Fatah flag during a celebration marking the 55th anniversary of the Fatah movement in Gaza City, Dec. 31, 2019
    A Fatah supporter waves the movement's flag during a celebration marking its 55th anniversary, in Gaza City in 2019
    (Photo: AP)
    Numerous attempts at reconciliation have failed to close the rift, including a prisoner exchange agreement in 2012 and a short-lived unity government two years later.
    The recent talks have been fueled by two Arab states -- the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain -- normalizing their relations with Israel, which saw the warring Palestinian groups united in condemnation.
    The accords break with decades of Arab consensus that ties with Jerusalem should not be normalized until it has signed a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.
    איסמעיל הנייהאיסמעיל הנייה
    Islamic Jihad head Ziyad al-Nakhalah, left, and Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh meeting in Beirut earlier this month
    (Photo: AFP)
    Haniyeh met in Beirut earlier this month with Islamic Jihad chief Ziyad al-Nakhala to coordinate their actions in response to the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE.
    The two then participated in a video conference called by Abbas with the participation of all Palestinian factions to discuss a united response to the agreement between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.
    Talkbacks for this article 0