Following the recent reconciliation agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah, both parties announced today (Wednesday) that new elections will be held by the end of 2018 in the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas terrorists march (archives)

Hamas terrorists march (archives) Photo Credit: Hamas’ Official Twitter page/Channel 2 News

Following the Palestinian reconciliation talks between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which took place last month in Cairo, in a joint statement released Wednesday evening, the two parties announced that general elections would be held in the PA by the end of 2018. However, the final date of the elections will be decided by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Last Saturday, after a decade of Hamas control, the Rafah Border Crossing was opened for the first time between Gaza and Egypt under the control of the PA. The crossing was only opened for three days and closed again on Monday.

Approximately three weeks ago, Hamas handed over the control of Gaza’s border crossings to the PA as part of the reconciliation agreement. Celebratory photographs of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi were hung up. Meanwhile, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) held a meeting with PA representatives to ensure that security requirements at the crossings would be met without the presence of Hamas members.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah last month: “Israel opposes any reconciliation in which the terrorist organization Hamas does not disarm and end its war to destroy Israel…There is nothing Israel wants more than peace with all our neighbors.” Netanyahu continued, stating, “We expect anyone who talks of a peace process to recognize the State of Israel and of course to recognize the Jewish State.”