3,000 Palestinian Authority police to redeploy to Gaza in unity deal

Some 3,000 police officers from the Palestinian Authority are to redeploy to Gaza as part of a unity agreement between rival movements Fatah and Hamas, a Palestinian official said on Thursday.

“According to the agreement, the Palestinian government will be able to take over all its roles in the civil and security sectors, for which 3,000 Palestinian policemen from the …. Palestinian Authority will be redeployed,” the official involved in the talks told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The figure is a fraction of the number of police officers employed by Hamas, the terrorist organization that runs the Gaza Strip.

Earlier on Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said his group has reached an agreement with the rival Fatah party of PA President Mahmoud Abbas after Egyptian-brokered talks about the terms of control of the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh in a statement said that details would be announced later in the day in Cairo. The development follows two days of Hamas-Fatah talks in Cairo under what Haniyeh called “generous Egyptian auspices.”

The talks marked the latest in a series of attempts to end a decade-long Palestinian territorial, political and ideological split that has crippled Palestinian statehood aspirations.

In 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections, Hamas evicted Abbas’ Western-backed PA from Gaza. Abbas was left with autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Over the past decade, each side deepened its control over its territory, making it increasingly difficult to forge compromises.

Abbas has insisted that he will only reassume control of Gaza if Hamas hands over power. Hamas, in turn, has said that it will not disarm — even if it is willing to give Abbas control of the Gaza government.

Reports from Egypt Thursday, quoted by Israel Radio, said Hamas was not prepared to give up its arms. The Islamist terror group, which is dedicated to the elimination of Israel, was said to have instead agreed under the terms of the emerging reconciliation deal that it would not use its weaponry unless a resort to force was approved by a joint panel. There was no immediate official confirmation of this.

Sticking points in past and current talks included control over the arsenal of Hamas’s armed wing, the fate of thousands of Hamas’ public servants, arrangements for Gaza’s border crossings and a restructuring of the security forces.

The union representing Hamas-allied civil servants in Gaza said Thursday that as part of an emerging deal, a committee would discuss over the next four months how they would be integrated into a new government.

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