Netanyahu Demands Palestinians Recognize Israel, Disarm Hamas

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Palestinian PM arrives in Gaza, first visit since 2015

The terror group Hamas has ruled Gaza since a violent overthrow of the Palestinian Authority in 2007, but last month agreed to hand over civilian rule after Egyptian mediation.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the US, the European Union and Israel, agreed to cede control of Gaza as funds from overseas dried up and Abbas imposed sanctions that reduced government salaries and cut electricity to three hours a day.

Abbas's Fatah which controls the PA has been re-accepted in enclave at a Tuesday ceremony marking reconciliation between two Palestinian factions. The moves deepened the hardships facing the strip, which has been battered by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade and wars with Israel.

He said Egypt is going to invite Fatah and Hamas to Cairo in the near future to discuss the developments so far and to prepare for a wider meeting for all the factions involved in signing the May 4, 2011 Cairo reconciliation agreement in order to start implementing its terms. "There is an opportunity for achieving peace in the region". Palestinian militants have fired about 11,000 rockets into the Jewish state since Israel removed its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005.

Fawzy traveled to Gaza to meet the Palestinian government, following a meeting in Ramallah with Abbas.

"We will not accept any external power from Hezbollah in the Strip and we will not let any other countries intervene in Palestinian affairs, apart from Egypt", Abbas said Tuesday.

"We have a very straightforward attitude toward anyone who wants to effect such a reconciliation: recognize the State of Israel, dismantle Hamas's military wing, sever the relationship with Iran, which calls for our destruction", said Netanyahu, speaking from the city of Ma'ale Adumim in the West Bank.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah vowed Wednesday to boost economic growth in Gaza Strip, in a meeting with dozens of businessmen from Gaza.

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