Palestinian prime minister to hold unity talks with Hamas

Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas to hold talks

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Monday, in the latest effort at national reconciliation between the West Bank-based PA and the Hamas government in Gaza.

The visit came weeks after an Egypt-brokered deal, under which Hamas, which runs the Strip, would cede civilian power to Hamdallah's internationally recognized Palestinian Authority.

It is also one of only two Arab countries to have made peace with Israel and has long played a key role in Palestinian reconciliation efforts. "In the West Bank some people are talking about a complete governmental takeover in Gaza, whereas within Hamas, the language being used is all about political power sharing".

Narrowing internal divisions could help western-backed Abbas counter Israel's argument that it has no negotiating partner for peace with the Palestinians, analysts said.

On Sunday, Hamdallah chaired a cabinet meeting ahead of the visit to Gaza, and announced committees for crossings, employees and security.

Any unity agreement that keeps Hamas' military wing intact will thus pose a problem for Abbas, specifically in terms of the PA's ability to maintain long-term control over Gaza, as an armed Hamas will retain the ability to undermine or threaten the government at will.

"It is a day of Eid, a national holiday", said Abdel-Majid Ali, 46. "They are hopeful that this step will alleviate the hard economic situation in Gaza, the border crossings will be open more often, the issue of PA employees will be solved, and that electricity [will] be returned", Modallal told Al Jazeera.

Sitting in his garden in Gaza City, Yasser al Kurdi hopes for a change.

"The road ahead will be long and hard, but momentum of reconciliation and peace should not be missed", Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process wrote on Twitter.

Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum told the Maan news agency that he was optimistic about the success of reconciliation, citing "unprecedented Palestinian will by all parties".

Hamdallah was scheduled to hold talks with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and tour Shejaia, a neighbourhood heavily damaged by Israeli bombardment in a 2014 war with Gaza militants. "There will be no Palestinian state without Gaza".

"We need to. push the wheel of reconciliation forward, to create a positive atmosphere".

In this respect, Eisen believes that there is "no chance whatsoever [that Hamas will agree to disarm]".

Hamas established the administrative committee to fill what it described as a void caused by the PA's neglect of its duties in Gaza. Hamas is also classified as a terrorist organization by Israel.

"Unless it's real disarmament it's not viable, it's not sustainable and it won't be acceptable to Israelis or Americans", said Daniel Shapiro, the former USA ambassador to Israel.

"This will inevitably lead to destruction of the potential new unity government".

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