Hamas reportedly to stop West Bank attacks as part of Fatah reconciliation deal
KHALED DESOUKI (AFP)
Sources from Hamas told the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Sunday that Thursday's reconciliation deal signed between rival Palestinian factions includes an agreement that the militant group will not attempt to start a conflict with Israel in the West Bank.
There has been a period of relative calm between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip since 2014's confrontation between the two, with the militant group instead focused on carrying out acts of violence in the West Bank and Israel.
Hamas and Fatah signed a milestone agreement in Cairo on Thursday aimed at ending a decade-long split between the two factions following talks overseen by Egypt.
The document was signed on behalf of Hamas by deputy leader Salah al-Aruri, who is responsible for overseeing military operations for the militant group in the West Bank.
According to the newspaper, Hamas sources confirmed that the deal includes an "implicit understanding" to end confrontation in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The sources confirmed to the paper that by no longer trying to start a conflict in the West Bank, Hamas was signalling a sea-change in its policy of "resistance".
Palestinian Authority President and Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas hailed Thursday's agreement as a "final agreement to end the division" -- though many key issues remain to be resolved and previous reconciliation attempts have repeatedly failed.
The talks in Cairo were apparently focused on enabling the Palestinian Authority to resume its operations in Gaza.
Some 3,000 police officers from the Palestinian Authority are to redeploy to Gaza as part of the deal, another official involved in the talks told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"According to the agreement, the Palestinian government will be able to take over all its roles in the civil and security sectors, for which 3,000 Palestinian policemen from the .... Palestinian Authority will be redeployed," the official said.
The figure is a fraction of the number of police officers employed by Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip.
Abbas has warned he would not accept Hamas keeping its weapons, rejecting a "Hezbollah-model" arrangement in the Gaza Strip. Hamas officials, however, have vowed its military wing would not disarm.
Reconciliation could also pose a dilemma for international efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal since Hamas has not recognized Israel, unlike the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organization.
Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has seen deteriorating humanitarian conditions.
(Staff with AFP)
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it's looking like a mafia agreement.