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Israel, Egypt cooperate in efforts to calm Gaza

On the backdrop of the crisis in Gaza, Israel considers internal Palestinian reconciliation a security interest and a possible end to arson kite attacks.
Palestinians take part in a protest calling on Hamas and Fatah factions to conclude the reconciliation, in Gaza city December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa - RC140D2E3AF0

Palestinians are no longer excited every time there is talk of a possible reconciliation between their two main representative movements, Hamas and Fatah. On Oct. 12, 2017, the two sides signed an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement in Cairo. Palestinians in the Fatah-ruled area of the West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza Strip cheered, but not for long. Almost a year has gone by, and the alienation between the two sides has only deepened. Every time a new initiative is reported on implementation of the deal that was not worth the paper on which it was written, Palestinian social media accounts are filled with derisive comments. These comments joke about “the fake news industry” and claim that Palestinian journalists and politicians are simply floating trial balloons out of sheer boredom.

But this time, a Palestinian security official tells Al-Monitor, things are looking different. “Reconciliation was never closer than it seems now,” he says, on condition of anonymity. According to his assessment, the sides are close to agreement on an Egyptian-proposed compromise over their biggest dispute: control of Gaza’s security forces and disarming of the Hamas military wing.

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