Hamas has announced that a delegation of its senior officials which visited Cairo last week also met with representatives of ousted Fatah leader Mohamed Dahlan in the Egyptian capital. In a meeting in Gaza on Sunday, senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayya briefed journalists on the results of the trip.
"The last trip was an extension of several previous visits over 15 months," explained Al-Hayya, "but it was the most fruitful. We reached understandings that we hope to see implemented on the ground soon."
These understandings include the "regular" opening of the Rafah Border Crossing, facilitating commercial exchange between Gaza and Egypt and facilitating movement of people and fuel. In return, Hamas will increase its security measures on the border with Egypt.
When asked about the meeting with Dahlan's representatives, the Hamas official said that they agreed to "sort out" some of the issues which have emerged since Hamas became the elected government of Palestine. Among these is social reconciliation between the families of Hamas and Fatah members who were killed during the chaos which preceded Hamas's expulsion of Dahlan's Fatah security forces from Gaza in 2007. In addition, they agreed to activate a social solidarity fund and collect money from unnamed Arab states in order to help the poor in Gaza.
"We are ready to meet and talk with any Palestinian, whoever he is and whatever the differences between us," said Al-Hayya. "If we have many insoluble differences, we have so many things in common." He noted that all that happened in Cairo was favourable for the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause.
He went on to attack Mahmoud Abbas, describing the Palestinian Authority and Fatah President as "the main obstacle ahead of reconciliation."
Al-Hayya also revealed that the new leader of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, will be based in Gaza, unlike his predecessor Khaled Meshaal, who is in Qatar. "Haniyeh will only leave Gaza on limited occasions," he said, "as we do not want to be burden on anyone."
Before closing the meeting, the Hamas official condemned the Arab-Israeli normalisation moves but stressed that his movement is not interested in any war with the Israeli occupation authorities. He welcomed efforts, especially by Egypt, to agree a prisoner swap with Israel.
Images by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad