CAIRO - Following days of talks Egyptian mediators have gotten rival Palestinian factions to agree to reconcile, although Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah group is insisting rival Hamas implement the conditions it has agreed to before taking the next step.
Efforts to resolve a decade-old schism between the two main Palestinian factions appears to be coming closer to fruition, after Egyptian mediators succeeded in convincing the Islamist Hamas group, which controls Gaza to agree to dissolve its Gaza Administrative Committee that governs the territory sandwiched between Egypt and Israel.
The agreement calls for new Palestinian elections in Gaza and the West Bank next year.
Despite the new accord, the Fatah group is insisting Hamas start implementing the deal before any further steps are taken.
It remains unclear if Hamas will agree to another key demand and allow European Union monitors and Egyptian border officials to take control of the main Rafah border post between Egypt and Gaza, officially closed since Hamas refused to uphold a 2005 agreement with Israel, necessitating the presence of EU monitors at the border.
Multiple efforts to mediate an agreement between the two parties have failed since they fell out with one another in 2007.
Egyptian Parliament Member Emad Gad told Saudi-owned Al- Arabiya TV that Hamas probably agreed to the deal because it is no longer able to pay its employees.
Qatar, which used to finance a large chunk of Hamas' operating budget, has been under financial pressure since a June 2017 economic boycott by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
Following days of negotiations in Cairo, Palestinian Authority official Nabil Sha'ath told Arab media Egypt has once again become the top power-broker in Gaza.
He says Egypt controls Gaza's only border with the world, with the exception of crossings into Israel, and that Egypt has taken the role of top negotiator since a recent deal with Hamas regarding the Sinai.
U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a tweet Sunday he welcomes "the recent statement by Hamas announcing the dissolving of [its] administrative committee in Gaza," and that he hoped "the Palestinian parties will use Cairo momentum to address the Gaza humanitarian situation..."
University of Paris Political Science Professor Khattar Abou Diab tells VOA the opportunity for an accord appeared after the conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and its allies broke out in June.
He said Qatar cut its financial subsidies to Hamas after the conflict with Saudi Arabia and its allies erupted in June and that put a great deal of pressure on Hamas to resolve its financial crisis.
But Abou Diab says he is "prudent" about the chances of the latest deal succeeding, since "neither Hamas nor Fatah have kept their word," following previous mediation efforts in Mecca, Doha and in Cairo.