Fatah, Hamas Extend 'Goodwill Gestures'

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, each released prisoners as a goodwill gesture to one another.

Hamas released 30 Fatah members incarcerated in the Gaza Strip, while Fatah released 40 Hamas members from its prisons in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

But both factions claimed the numbers were too low.

Hamas called Fatah's gesture "insufficient," stating that more than 200 Hamas-affiliated Palestinians have been arrested over the past several months, while Fatah called Hamas' release "not serious" when an estimated 300 of its members remain in prison.

The two factions plan to meet next month in Cairo in continuing efforts to resolve their differences and form another unity government.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said his delegation would go to the talks in Cairo "with open hearts and hands and good intentions," expecting Fatah's recognition of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip "elected in a free and democratic election."

According to Palestinian officials quoted in the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Abbas believes their differences can be solved through dialogue.

"He [Abbas] believes that we must give the dialogue a chance before talking about a confrontation with Hamas. And he is convinced that the dialogue would be successful in solving the crisis with Hamas," the officials said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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