Rival Fatah, Hamas Movements Reach Deal

The rival Palestinian movements of Hamas and Fatah have reached an initial deal that would usher in a unity government, officials from both groups said on Wednesday.

Palestinians rallied for an end to the division between Fatah and Hamas in Ramallah, March 15.

The rival Palestinian movements of Hamas and Fatah have reached an initial deal that would usher in a unity government, officials from both groups said on Wednesday.

The deal would establish a new parliament and a date for general elections, Hamas officials told CNN Wednesday.

They've also reached an agreement over security issues that have kept the two sides apart, the Hamas officials said.

Fatah officials said Hamas' reservations have been discussed and resolved and also confirmed that the two parties have agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in a year's time.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal are going to meet soon in Egypt, a Hamas official said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement has struck an agreement with bitter rival Hamas on forming an interim government and fixing a date for a general election, officials said Wednesday.
This move comes amid international efforts by Abbas for statehood, and it could portend unity in the fractious Palestinian territories.

For years, there has been a big divide between the hard-line and anti-Israel Hamas and Fatah, which has engaged in peace negotiations with Israel.

There've been two governments, with Palestinian Authority controlling the Fatah-dominated West Bank and Hamas seizing Gaza four years ago after both sides fought in the street.

There've been moves by both sides to reach a reconciliation deal since but those efforts failed.

Israel and militants in Gaza have fought continually for years. Israel has retaliated against Gaza militants who've fired missiles into southern Israeli towns.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the authority must decide whether it wants "peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.

"It is impossible to have peace with both since Hamas is looking to destroy the state of Israel and says it openly," he said, emphasizing that the projectiles have been fired on cities and children.

"I think that the mere idea of reconciliation shows the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and raises wonders whether Hamas will take over Judea and Samaria as it took over the Gaza Strip. I hope that the Palestinian Authority chooses right -- that it chooses peace with Israel, the choice is theirs," Netanyahu said.

Many Israelis refer to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria.

CNN