Three major factions within the Palestinian Authority—Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—announced on Thursday that they had finalized a reconciliation deal in Algeria intended to restore joint government over the divided West Bank and Gaza Strip and hold the Palestinian territories’ first general election in nearly twenty years.
The agreement, mediated by the Algerian government and signed in Algiers, was approved by senior Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, and PFLP secretary-general Talal Najji. At the signing ceremony, Haniyeh described the successful negotiation as a “historical moment, through which we see Jerusalem.” Al-Ahmad emphasized that he was “proud” to amend the “split and cancer that has entered the Palestinian body.” Both leaders thanked Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who has led the country since 2019, for his role in overseeing the negotiations.
Although Hamas and Fatah were the largest and most significant Palestinian factions to attend the negotiations, fourteen separate political groups within Palestine took part. While the final document reportedly does not include a pathway toward a unity government, it does discuss the structure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the overarching body that it describes as the “sole representative of the Palestinian people.” The document also discusses the formation of the PLO’s national council and vows to “speed up the holding of presidential and legislative elections in all of the Palestinian territories, including [East] Jerusalem,” within a year.
If its aims are achieved, the document could help to heal the rift that developed between Fatah and Hamas in 2007 after Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip. During the two territories’ divided governance, no new elections have been held. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, a member of Fatah, was elected to a four-year term as president in 2005 but has remained in office for seventeen years in the absence of further voting.
The discussions in Algeria come one month before a scheduled summit of the Arab League in Algiers. Tebboune has promoted the summit as an opportunity to display Algeria’s importance in the Arab world—an importance that has increased amid heightened demand for Algerian natural gas exports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Algerian government has supervised months of negotiations between Palestinian factions in the run-up to Thursday’s agreement; during previous rounds of negotiations, Fatah and Hamas pledged to reunify and hold elections, but ultimately did not implement those pledges.
Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for the National Interest.