Egypt asks Palestinian factions for proposals

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt has asked rival Palestinian factions for written proposals on how to stop internal fighting in the Gaza Strip, to be discussed in Cairo in July, a source close to Hamas said.

“There’s an understanding that Fatah and Hamas and the other Palestinian factions will meet in Cairo next month, and papers are expected from Hamas and Fatah and all the factions … with some proposals and understandings on solving the current internal Palestinian crisis,” the source told Reuters.

The source added that the papers would outline each faction’s proposal on how to deal with violations of any agreements reached.

Egyptian officials have held talks in the past week with Palestinian politicians from the rival sides in a bid to ease tensions that erupted in violence in May in Gaza. They met Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Azzam al-Ahmad and separately Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas’s deputy politburo chief.

The source said no direct talks between Fatah and Hamas were planned. Fighting between the two sides in Gaza killed about 50 people last month.

Abu Marzouk told Al Jazeera television on Friday “many principles have been affirmed” and he hoped a meeting of all Palestinian factions to rebuild confidence could be held this month.

Egypt hosted a meeting in April between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal, whose groups formed a national unity government in March. Serious fighting again broke out in Gaza in May.

A relative calm has held for the past few days, accompanied by a relative decrease in Palestinian-Israel fighting. Previous ceasefire deals have rarely lasted long.

Palestinian cabinet spokesman Ghazi Hamad said on Friday Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh had agreed a plan with security chiefs to restore order in the Gaza Strip as soon as possible.

As a first step, they agreed to open a joint operations headquarters under the leadership of a senior military commander loyal to Abbas.

(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Inal Ersan in Dubai)

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