Last updated: 4 December, 2012

Abbas says time for Palestinian unity with Hamas

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Tuesday it was time to seal a reconciliation with the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza and unite Palestinian ranks.

“It is time to seriously deal with reconciliation and for contacts with Egypt’s mediation for a reconciliation,” he said at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership attended by Nassereddine al-Shaer, a Hamas deputy premier.

“We hope to agree on a meeting and a meeting of the leadership in Egypt in order to finish with this question which has gone on for too long,” said Abbas, who heads the rival Fatah party.

Hamas-Fatah tensions have been high since 2006, when the Islamists won Palestinian legislative elections. Hamas seized power in Gaza the following year, ending a power-sharing deal with the secular Fatah which holds sway in the West Bank.