Hamas Allows West Bank Papers in Gaza as Unity Push Gains Pace

Fatah-Backed Media Had Been Banned in Enclave

getty images

By Reuters

Published May 07, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip said on Wednesday it had relaxed a ban on Palestinian newspapers published outside the enclave as a gesture of reconciliation to rival group Fatah after their unity deal last month.

The announcement came two days after Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas met Hamas’s leader in exile, Khaled Meshaal, in Qatar for their first talks since the unity pact was signed.

The groups have banned newspapers from each other’s territories since Hamas won a 2006 poll and the two parties fought a bloody civil war the following year in which Hamas seized the Gaza Strip and Fatah remained in power in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The return to Gaza of Al-Quds, the biggest-selling Palestinian daily in the West Bank, was greeted enthusiastically by Gaza residents who snapped up copies from newspaper sellers shouting out its name.

“We are taking steps to end the era of the ugly division and to advance reconciliation,” Ehab al-Ghsain, a Hamas government spokesman, said about allowing Al-Quds back into the Gaza Strip.

“We urge the Palestinian Authority to take similar steps in the West Bank,” he said.

There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace accords with Israel, on whether it would relax its own restrictions.

Hamas wants Fatah to lift a West Bank ban on the Gaza Strip’s two pro-Hamas dailies and a newspaper affiliated with the Islamic Jihad group.

Hamas said it would wait for Abbas’s administration to reciprocate before allowing back two other major newspapers it had prohibited.

Al-Quds is an independent daily with articles critical of a wide spectrum of political parties. It is printed in East Jerusalem.

The April 23 reconciliation pact, envisaging the formation of a government within five weeks and a general election six months later, angered Israel, which suspended already troubled U.S.-brokered peace talks with Abbas. Both Israel and the United States classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Deep mistrust and enmity have scuppered previous deals to end the internal Palestinian rift, with both sides struggling to reconcile Hamas’s commitment to fighting Israel with Abbas’s choice to negotiate with it.

In another bid to bolster the unity agreement, Hamas on Monday freed six imprisoned Fatah men in the Gaza Strip who had been convicted of security offences.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.