Naharnet

Key Points of Palestinian Unity Agreement

Islamist movement Hamas handed over control of Gaza Strip border crossings to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday under a reconciliation agreement aimed at ending a 10-year rift with rivals Fatah.

The handover of the crossings was the first major test of the October 12 agreement. Here are key points of the accord and what remains unaddressed:

- The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank, will resume full control of Gaza by December 1 at the latest.

- All the major Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, will meet in Cairo in November for discussions about forming a unity government.

- The issue of tens of thousands of civil servants employed by Hamas will be solved by February 2018.

- Punitive measures taken by the PA against Gaza, including reductions in energy payments for the strip, are expected to be relieved.

- Still to be resolved -- The future of Hamas's 25,000-strong military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, was not mentioned in the agreement.

Israel has said it will reject any unity government including Hamas if the Islamist movement does not disarm, among other demands. The United States also says Hamas must disarm.

- Recognition of Israel was also not mentioned. The Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation has recognised Israel, while Hamas has not.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, and Western diplomats say they could not accept any government of which Hamas is a part unless it recognises Israel.

Source: Agence France Presse


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