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Will latest effort to mend Fatah-Hamas ties succeed?

Palestinian reconciliation takes another step forward with an exchange of letters.
Palestinians wave national flags as they march in the streets of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, calling for the cessation of divisions between Fatah and Hamas and the unification of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, on January 12, 2019. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

The latest round of intra-Palestinian reconciliation efforts appears to be the most serious one yet, as discussions about elections are to take place as soon as possible. Jibril Rajoub, Fatah’s secretary-general and the lead PLO official behind the latest surge of activity, delivered a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas on Jan. 2 from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and then was able to return a positive written response from Abbas.

Fatah sources in Ramallah told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the key issue holding up reconciliation was whether the general elections would be held simultaneously or consecutively. Abbas and the PLO had opted for local legislative elections to be followed by presidential elections. Hamas, the sources said, has finally agreed to the consecutive option. As a result, legislative elections would be followed by the setting up of a national unity government that would get a vote of confidence; presidential elections then would take place.

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