Israeli leaders: Hamas must disarm, or reconciliation means nothing

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on October 2

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have reached agreement on aspects of their reconciliation bid during talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo this week, Hamas said on Thursday.

The agreement is believed to include transfering administration of the border crossing between Gaza strip and Egypt to a unity government.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has congratulated by phone Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, on the intra-Palestinian agreement, signed earlier Thursday in Cairo.

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"As long as Hamas remains armed and as long as it calls for the destruction of Israel, Israel will consider Hamas responsible for any terror attack originating from Gaza", the official said.

The source added that security officials from Ramallah would soon hold a series of meetings in Gaza with their counterparts from Hamas to discuss means of handing over security responsibility for the blockaded coastal enclave.

The agreement, which is a reactivation of a previous deal signed in 2011, was signed in the presence of Egyptian Intelligence Minister Khalid Fawzi.

Hamas seized Gaza from Fatah in a near civil war in 2007 and the two factions have been at loggerheads ever since.

Cairo is now leading efforts to heal a decade-long political split between Gaza-based Hamas and the West Bank-based Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Gaza, which sits on the Mediterranean coast and is fenced in by heavily-patrolled barriers on three sides bordering Israel and Egypt, has been a frequent battleground over the past decade, during which Hamas has fought three wars with Israel.

The crossing has remained largely closed in recent years. "Unity and national reconciliation among the Palestinian people are our strategic option for moving forward".

Since then, the relations between the two rival factions have been very tense and all attempts to reconcile them over the past years have failed to bring fruit.

A major sticking point has been the Hamas military wing and its arsenal.

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's acting chief in Gaza, for his part, congratulated Abbas on the watershed agreement.

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