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Palestinian popular movement to press Hamas, Fatah on reconciliation

Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have launched a popular movement to push their political leaders to prioritize reconciliation and meet demands for improving life in Gaza.
Fatah's Azzam al-Ahmad (C-L) speaks with Hamas' Saleh al-Aruri (C-R) after signing a reconciliation deal in Cairo on October 12, 2017, as the two rival Palestinian movements ended their decade-long split following negotiations overseen by Egypt.
Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority is to resume full control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by December 1, according to a statement from Egypt's government. / AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI        (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Popular Conference to Support the Palestinian Reconciliation, End the Division and Restore National Unity convened on Nov. 18 at the Rashad al-Shawa Cultural Hall in Gaza City. At the conclusion of the gathering, mukhtars (village elders) and involved activist groups issued a document in support of Palestinian unity efforts and listing a number of demands. Eleven Palestinian factions also signed the document, with the exception of Hamas and Fatah, to whom the document was addressed.

The group Patriots to End the Split spearheaded the conference. Yussri Darwish, coordinator of the group, told Al-Monitor, “We, as Patriots to End the Split, called on Palestinian factions, tribes and civil organizations to participate in the conference. Seventeen people representing political, civil and tribal groups from the West Bank and Gaza were invited to address the conference, which is considered a first-of-its-kind popular movement in Palestine. The aim of the conference was to pressure both sides of the division — the [Palestinian Authority (PA)], represented by Fatah, and Hamas — to end the Palestinian division and achieve unity.”

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