Nabil Shaath
Photo: AFP

Report: Nabil Shaath visits Gaza Strip

Palestinian sources say senior Fatah member holding first visit by West Bank official to Strip since Hamas takeover in 2007. Shaath expected to meet Hamas officials, discuss interim government

Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath visited the Gaza Strip Thursday night, Palestinian sources reported. The visit was the first by a Fatah official from the West Bank since Hamas took control of the Strip in 2007.


"I am here to confirm that, despite what you heard in Washington, we are committed to unity and to scrupulously applying the terms to achieve complete unity, the reconstruction of Gaza, and the establishment of a Palestinian state," he told reporters upon entering the Strip, adding that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would also visit soon.


Last March, prior to signing the unity pact, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh invited Abbas for a visit as an initial gesture ahead of the negotiations between the sides.


"I am carrying a message from Fatah and (Abbas) which will open up the way for the implementation of measures to complete unity and neither Netanyahu nor anyone can stop it," said Mr. Shaath, who is scheduled to meet with leaders of Hamas and Fatah.


During a recent visit to Washington Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Abbas to reject unity with Hamas in favor of peace with Israel.


Shaath entered the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing. Sources close to the senior Fatah official said that his visit will include meetings with Hamas and Palestinian faction members, in which they will discuss the establishment of an interim government and the reconciliation talks.


Abbas has accepted Haniyeh's invitation, but the visit has not yet been scheduled. Hamas sources said they will not be able to guarantee the Palestinian president's safety if he comes to Gaza.


On Thursday, Abbas reiterated his intention to hold the visit in the near future.



פרסום ראשון: 05.26.11, 17:37
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