The see-saw of Palestinian reconciliation is back on after the new Hamas chief said he would make the changes needed to reach a deal with rival faction Fatah.
In a move designed to thaw relations, Yahya Sinwar said he would dissolve his party’s ruling structures and hold new elections in the Strip, which Hamas has ruled since 2007.
It will take more to reduce the level distrust between the Islamist group Hamas and the secular party Fatah, however. Frustrations were exacerbated earlier this year when Fatah asked Israel to cut power to the Strip, further deteriorating conditions there.
The request, by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, was designed to force Hamas into relinquishing control of Gaza, but seems to have back-fired – polls routinely show that Hamas is far more popular than Fatah both in Gaza and the West Bank.
On hearing the news, a Fatah spokesman told a Palestinian radio station: “We want to see that happening on the ground before we move to the next step.”