After reconciliation talks in Istanbul earlier this week, the Fatah and Hamas movements said Thursday they had agreed to hold general Palestinian elections within the next six months.
Similar announcements of planned elections have fallen through in the past, largely due to long-running conflict between Fatah and Hamas. If the vote goes forward, however, it would be the first Palestinian national election in fourteen years.
Fatah Secretary General Jibril Rajoub, who led Fatah’s delegation to the Turkish capital, said in a statement that the proposal would be submitted to a joint meeting of Palestinian faction heads within a week.
Under the proposal, elections would first be held for the Palestinian legislature, then for the Palestinian Authority presidency, and finally for the central council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank, while the Hamas terror group rules the Gaza Strip.
“We are waiting for [Palestinian Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas to call the faction heads to endorse the principle and implement appropriate procedures, beginning with issuing a presidential decree,” Rajoub said.
Palestinian legislative elections have not been held since 2006, when a Hamas victory over Fatah led to a bloody struggle for control of the Gaza Strip. Hamas expelled Fatah to the West Bank in 2007, after which the Palestinian Legislative Council essentially ceased to function.
Several rounds of reconciliation talks in different Arab capitals have failed to end the split between the two movements, which remain divided by ideological disputes and a violent history.
Read More: Times of Israel