Hamas officials said yesterday they are prepared to meet with Fatah leaders to discuss the future of the Gaza Strip, and indicated they might give up control of the region they've held since June. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted Hamas hand over Gaza and recognize his authority before talks could begin. Meanwhile, the area sinks deeper into an economic abyss created by foreign sanctions and an Israeli blockade.
"We have agreed to hold a dialogue with Fatah in one of the Arab capitals," said former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. "Our administration in Gaza is temporary." An official linked to both groups said talks could be held as early as next week, most likely in Cairo. But an Abbas aide discredited the reports as an insincere effort by Hamas to appear to be "advocates of dialogue."