Hamas warns of Palestinian reconciliation collapse

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah speaks during a press conference in Gaza City, on Dec. 7, 2017. Hamdallah's visit aims to push forward the implementation of a reconciliation deal Egypt brokered between Hamas and its rival Fatah party in October. (AP)
Updated 21 December 2017
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Hamas warns of Palestinian reconciliation collapse

GAZA CITY: A senior leader in Palestinian movement Hamas warned on Thursday of the potential collapse of a reconciliation agreement made with political rivals Fatah.
“The reconciliation is collapsing and everyone must intervene to save it,” Yahya Sinwar, the Gaza head of Hamas, told a meeting of young people.
“We took major steps to achieve reconciliation and we offered a lot of concessions, but the reconciliation is still in the same place.”
Under an Egyptian-brokered deal Hamas was meant to hand over control of Gaza to the internationally recognized Palestinian government, which is dominated by Fatah, by Dec. 10.
But the deadline passed and Hamas still maintains control in the Palestinian enclave.
The Palestinian government, based in the West Bank, has assumed responsibility at checkpoints between Gaza and neighbors — Israel and Egypt — but Hamas is still fully in control of the police and security apparatuses.
Fatah officials accused Hamas of refusing to give up real power, while Hamas said Fatah was not really committed to the process.
A key sticking point was the future of Hamas’s vast armed wing.
Hamas seized control of Gaza in a 2007 near civil war.
The UN has warned failure of the reconciliation would risk another round of conflict.
Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and others, has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008.


Yemen’s Hodeidah calm after cease-fire takes effect

Updated 18 December 2018
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Yemen’s Hodeidah calm after cease-fire takes effect

  • Yemen’s flashpoint city of Hodeida was calm on Tuesday after the UN-brokered cease-fire started at midnight
  • An agreement reached after talks in Sweden last week calls for the withdrawal of both sides’ forces from Hodeidah

Yemen’s flashpoint city of Hodeida was calm on Tuesday after the UN-brokered cease-fire started at midnight, pro-government sources and residents said.
“There has been complete calm since 03:00 am Yemen time (1200 GMT) in the city of Hodeida,” a military source loyal to the government told AFP on Tuesday.
The cease-fire agreement struck at the UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden came into effect at midnight Monday.
Residents said that daily fighting would usually be fierce in the evening and at night, before coming to a standstill at dawn.
The two warring sides have however welcomed the truce in the strategic Red Sea province.

The Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government against Iran-backed Houthi militias “has no intention of violating the agreement ... unless the Houthis violate and dishonor it,” a coalition official said.
An agreement reached after talks in Sweden last week calls for the withdrawal of both sides’ forces from Hodeidah within 21 days and the deployment of international monitors. The Houthis are due to surrender control of the port by midnight on Dec. 31.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to propose a surveillance team of up to to 40 observers, diplomats said.
Hodeidah residents reported sporadic fighting to the east and south of the city on Monday before the cease-fire took hold, and a government military official said a fire had broken out in a factory in the east of the city after airstrikes on Sunday night.

(With AFP)