In what could be the start of a massive shake-up in the Palestinian power structure, Hamas has publicly agreed to all major demands by President Mahmoud Abbas for a reconciliation deal with Fatah, meant to lead to elections and a unity government.
To that end, Hamas has dissolved the Administrative Committee that currently runs the Gaza Strip, and has suggested they are ready to hand over Gaza to a government of reconciliation that would prepare for the elections.
Egypt has been pushing the reconciliation deal, but it’s not clear how into this proposal the Abbas government is, or whether they’re willing to risk unification and free elections that they might not win. The 2007 split, after all, came after a decisive Hamas win in the elections, and Abbas refusing to respect the results.
There are still a lot of questions to be resolved about this unification, but the pressure is definitely on Abbas now, given his party’s recent struggles in, even in elections boycotted by the real rival parties. Reunification would be a major change, and would give the Palestinians a unified force to participate in Israeli peace talks.