Hamas political chief urges end to Palestinian rift

GAZA CITY – Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal on Saturday called for putting an end to the inter-Palestinian rift.

"The political decision-making is the responsibility of all Palestinians," Meshaal said in a statement published by Hamas' media bureau.

He said that "Hamas extends hands out for the rival Fatah and other Palestinian factions to end divisions, set up one political system and bolster the home front".

Tension has been high between Hamas – which governs the Gaza Strip – and Fatah – which holds the Palestinian Authority – since 2007, when Hamas routed troops loyal PA President Mahmoud Abbas and seized control of the entire strip.

Continued conflict between Hamas and Fatah obliged the former to set up its own government in Gaza, while Fatah did the same in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

In 2011, the two factions hammered out a reconciliation deal under Egyptian sponsorship. The following year, the two sides agreed to create a unity government headed up by Abbas to pave the way for parliamentary polls.

The terms of the agreement, however, were never implemented.

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