Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will travel to the Gaza Strip on October 2, as part of renewed reconciliation efforts with militant group Hamas, local news agency Wafa reported on Monday, citing a government spokesperson.
“Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has decided, after consulting with President Mahmoud Abbas [pictured above], that the government will hold its weekly meeting in Gaza next week,” Spokesperson Yusuf Al Mahmoud said, adding that Hamdallah and members of the government will start taking over government responsibilities.
The move comes a week after Hamas said it was ready to dissolve the committee ruling Gaza, conduct a general election for the first time since 2006 and hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ movement, Fatah, to end a decade-long split.
The Gaza Strip, which has about two million people, has been plagued with deteriorating humanitarian conditions and unemployment. Hamas had turned to Egypt for assistance, which, in turn, put pressure on it to reconcile with Palestine.
Fatah and Hamas have been at loggerheads since Hamas violently took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, with the two groups operating separate administrations. Numerous attempts to reconcile have failed, including one in 2014, when Hamas and Fatah had agreed to form a national government to rule both Gaza and the West Bank unitedly.
Since 2007, Israel and Egypt have maintained a land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip to prevent attacks. Hamas is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, European Union, United Kingdom and other powers.