Hamas and Fatah reach agreement to hold elections six months from now

After 15 years without electoral acts, following the clashes that resulted from the coalition attempt in 2006, the two main Palestinian factions seek to show signs of unity at a time when the rest of the Arab world seems open to normalizing ties with Israel.

Hamas and Fatah, the main Palestinian political groups, reached an agreement this Thursday to hold elections within six months, the first in more than 15 years. The agreement was reached at a meeting between senior members of the two factions in Istanbul, Turkey.

The elections are expected to oppose the two men who signed the deal, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority and the main face of Fatah, and Ismail Haniya, the political head of Hamas, the most important Sunni Islamist movement in Palestine.

"We reached an agreement to hold legislative elections first, followed by presidential elections for the Palestinian Authority, and finally for the General Council of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine," said Jibril Rajoub, one of the senior Fatah officials present at the ground meeting. Turkish.

Also a top Hamas representative, Saleh al-Arouri, spoke to Agence France Press of “a true consensus” reached. "The divisions in which we live have undermined our common national cause, so we are working to correct that," he said.

Still, Fatah warns that the election will involve the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, territories that the Palestinian Authority claims for its people, but that Israel occupies and controls.

The announcement of elections in the territory comes after the normalization of ties between two Arab countries in the Gulf with Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, decisions that the Palestinian people condemn and classify as "stab in the back". Palestine had already withdrawn this week from the rotating presidency of the Arab League in protest against these diplomatic movements.

In the last elections, in 2006, Hamas won with an unexpected majority. Both factions advanced to a coalition government, but the union was short-lived, having derailed in violent clashes. Since then, Hamas has taken control of Gaza, while Fatah heads the Palestinian Authority.

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