Since 2007, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have announced at least four “reconciliation” agreements to end their rivalry, which began a year earlier when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections. This week, under the auspices of the Egyptian authorities, the two rival Palestinian parties announced yet another deal to patch up their differences and achieve “national unity.”
The latest agreement between Hamas and the PA requires the Islamist movement to dismantle its shadow government in the Gaza Strip — known as the Administrative Committee. It was this shadow government that prompted PA President Mahmoud Abbas to impose a number of punitive measures against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including cutting off salaries to civil servants, forcing thousands of employees into early retirement, halting payments for electricity supplied by Israel and reducing medicine supplies to hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
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