Militant group Hamas on Wednesday handed over control of the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt to the Palestinian Authority, AFP reported. Hamas also dismantled its installations at a checkpoint with Israel.
In September, Hamas had agreed to cede power in Gaza to the government backed by President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party. Hamas and Fatah reached a deal on political reconciliation in October, under which Hamas will hand over full control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority by December 1.
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 had 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.
On Wednesday, Fatah spokesperson Osama Qawasmeh told Al Jazeera that no conditions were set by either group for Hamas’ handover of five administrative crossings to the Palestinian Authority.
“The issue is simply a matter of restoring the status quo back under the Palestinian Authority’s control, as was the case before the 2007 split,” he said. “This will no doubt help enable a huge part of people’s lives to travel outside the Gaza Strip for whatever reason such as seeking medical treatment, undertaking a scholarship in a university, and leisurely travel.”
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem echoed Qawasmeh’s sentiment.