Two delegations representing Hamas and Fatah are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Sunday to evaluate what has been achieved on the ground since the heads of both parties met a month ago.
Fatah leader president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal met a month earlier in the Egyptian capital, declaring that the meeting had brought them together and eliminated any differences.
Fatah lawmaker Faisal Abu Shahla said Abbas and Mashaal were planning to hold another meeting in the future, but he did not provide any details about when or where it would be held.
On Dec. 20, other Palestinian factions will meet in Cairo, and two days later PLO members will also hold a meeting, Abu Shahla said.
Meanwhile, a meeting between the various smaller factions were being held at the offices of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Rabah Muhanna in Gaza City, a Ma’an correspondent reported.
Palestinian political groups have called the upcoming meetings in Cairo the last chance for implementation of a reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, which was signed in May.
Seven months later, the factions say nothing has moved on the ground to implement the terms of the deal that would end four years of divided government in Gaza and the West Bank.
Factions heading to Cairo on Monday stressed that this could be the last opportunity for the deal to end the division and set the path to national elections.
The delegations in Cairo are funding their own expenses for the first time, begging the question of whether Egypt’s sponsorship of the talks could founder if they drag on further.
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader and head of the government in Gaza, says one of the biggest sticking points has been the issue of political prisoners who remain in Palestinian prisons in the West Bank.
Speaking this week at the inauguration of a new school in Gaza City, Haniyeh stressed “the need to take practical steps to prove the sincerity of intentions and depart from” empty rhetoric.
He added that Hamas was awaiting the outcome of the meetings in Cairo.