Palestinian Prime Minister and other officials from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday, before official meetings regarding national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the de facto leaders of besieged coast enclave, are set to begin.
The PA’s official news agency Wafa reported that Hamdallah arrived in Gaza via the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing, to a (popular reception.)
Reuters reported that a Hamas police honor guard and hundreds of Palestinians, many of them waving Palestinian flags, welcomed Hamdallah outside the Hamas-controlled checkpoint down the road from the Erez crossing.
In a press conference upon his arrival, Hamdallah described the visit — his first to Gaza in two years — as a (historic moment” towards unity of the Palestinian people, and said that the national unity government would start to assume its administrative responsibility of the Gaza Strip.
We came at the orders of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to announce to the world, from the heart of Gaza that the Palestinian state cannot be without political and geographic unity between the West Bank and Gaza. We know that the only way to achieve our goals is through unity, and to protect the Palestinian political system,( he reportedly said.
Hamdallah also announced that several committees have been established to handle the main issues facing the handover of power, such as the administration of border crossings and PA employees in Gaza.
The future of Hamas’ military wing is expected to be a major sticking point in the reconciliation process. According to reports, Abbas has stipulated that Hamas must dismantle its military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, while deputy head of Hamas’ politburo Moussa Abu Marzouk has insisted that the brigades is not a subject of discussion with the PA.