Fatah, Hamas agree to hold first Palestinian elections since 2006

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ISTANBUL, PALESTINOW.COMGaza’s rulers Hamas and their Fatah rivals in the occupied West Bank have agreed to hold the first Palestinian elections since 2006, united by their opposition to Arab-Israeli normalisation deals.

Polls will be scheduled within six months under a deal reached between Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh, officials from both sides told AFP.

“We have agreed to first hold legislative elections, then presidential elections of the Palestinian Authority, and finally the central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO),” said Jibril Rajub, a senior Fatah official, on Thursday.

The last Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 saw Hamas win an unexpected landslide.

Saleh al Arouri, a top Hamas official, said the deal was reached during meetings held in Turkey.

“This time we reached a real consensus,” he said, speaking to AFP by phone from Istanbul.

“Divisions have damaged our national cause and we are working to end that,” Arouri added.

The recent talks have come after two Arab states – the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – normalised their relations with Israel.

Despite peace deals with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, the new accords broke with decades of Arab consensus that further ties with the Jewish state should not be normalised until it has signed a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.

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