World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel has refused to allow three Hamas leaders to leave the West Bank for Egypt to attend reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions in Cairo, a Hamas leader said.
“Egyptian efforts have failed to persuade Israel to allow the three group leaders from the West Bank to join the Hamas delegation in the talks,” Hassan Yousef said on Monday.
Israel controls all crossings in the occupied West Bank.
Yousef said on Sunday that three Hamas leaders from the West Bank might attend the new round of reconciliation talks in Cairo.
He, however, declined to unveil the names of the leaders, citing security reasons.
Delegates from Hamas and rival group Fatah are due to meet in Cairo on Tuesday as part of Egyptian efforts to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation and allow the West Bank-based unity government to assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip.
Last week, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah held his first cabinet meeting in Gaza since the unity government was drawn up in 2014, in a major step towards Palestinian reconciliation.
The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have remained politically and administratively divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of the strip from Fatah following several days of street fighting.
Hamas’s capture of Gaza in 2007 ended an earlier -- if short-lived -- unity government that was established after Hamas swept 2006 Palestinian legislative polls.