RAMALLAH, January 23 (JMCC) - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, after telling the movement that he plans to step down, has invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Gaza Strip with him to consolidate reconciliation between their rival factions, reported Al-Hayat
The story from the Arabic newspaper was written up in
the Jerusalem Post
Mashaal, who visited Egypt this past week for meetings with Egyptian and foreign officials, asked Cairo to grant him passage to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, a reliable Palestinian source told the London-based daily. The Rafah border crossing is the only land crossing in Gaza not abutting Israel.
The source did not give a precise date for the visit, saying it would occur at the appropriate time because of the sensitivity of the visit, according to the newspaper.
The report said that the trip would be the first of its kind for Mashaal, who was born in the West Bank but spent most of his life abroad in Kuwait, Jordan and Syria. The external and exiled leadership of Hamas functions from the Damascus-based political bureau, which Mashaal has led since 1996.
Mashaal requested that Abbas accompany him on his visit to Gaza in order to underline cooperation between Hamas and Fatah, and in order to continue pursuing a reconciled, unified Palestinian government, according to Al Hayat.