Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has announced it has dissolved its shadow government in Gaza and agreed to hold general elections in an attempt to end its long-running schism with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. Matthew Larotonda reports.
Islamist group Hamas has announced it will dissolve its administration that runs Gaza and cede responsibility to the Palestinian reconciliation government. Attempting to end its long-running feud with President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement. Hamas has also agreed to hold general elections for lawmakers. The last time that happened was in 2006, when Hamas' surprise victory at the voting booth set the stage for a civil war between the groups that killed hundreds. Hamas has ruled Gaza ever since. The president's Fatah group has reacted with cautious optimism. There have been numerous attempts to resolve this dispute over the years. And even though the two groups agreed to form the reconciliation government in 2014, Hamas' own shadow government has remained in control of Gaza. Sunday's (September 17) announcement isn't a case of a sudden change of heart. One way President Abbas has pressured Hamas to release control is that he cut payments to Israel for the electrical utilities it supplies to Gaza. As a result the Strip only ever gets power for up to six hours a day, and often less. But some polls show that if elections were held today, not only would Hamas win Gaza but also in the occupied West Bank, the seat of Abbas' Palestinian Authority. Representatives for Abbas couldn't be reached for comment. Fatah and Hamas diplomats are currently holding talks in Egypt.