Members of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) government headed by Rami Hamdallah arrived in Gaza on Oct. 2 for an Oct. 3 meeting to advance efforts for a reconciliation with Hamas. Joining them were the heads of the PA's security apparatus, Majid Faraj, director of the Palestinian Intelligence Services, and Ziad Hab al-Rih, head of Preventative Security. Faraj and Hab al-Rih will ultimately determine whether there will be a reconciliation. They will make their decision after hearing from their Hamas counterparts about how much Hamas is willing to concede.
Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh and the movement's leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, have recently been talking quite a bit about turning the page in their dispute with Fatah and the importance of Palestinian unity. On Sept. 17, Hamas announced the dissolution of its shadow government administering Gaza. Shortly afterward, Sinwar told journalists that the announcement had been made before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN General Assembly on Sept. 20 so the world would view Abbas as the strong leader of a unified Palestinian people. Sinwar, as proof of his seriousness, said that the head of the movement's military wing, Mohammed al-Deif, is an enthusiastic supporter of reconciliation. As everyone in Gaza and the West Bank knows, whatever Deif says goes.