Hamas to join PLO in unity bid

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas will join the Palestine Liberation Organization in an effort to advance Palestinian unity.

The deal to admit Hamas was struck Thursday in Cairo during meetings of rival Palestinian factions working to unify the Palestinian leadership, the Associated Press reported.

Under the agreement, Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal has become a member of a committee planning for PLO parliamentary elections along with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. It will be the first PLO popular election in 50 years, the AP reported.

The deal is seen as an important step toward reconciliation between Abbas’ Fatah and Mashaal’s Hamas.

Meanwhile, Israeli leaders condemned Abbas for meeting Wednesday with a Palestinian woman who had been released several days earlier in the second phase of the Shalit prisoner swap. Amna Muna had used the Internet to lure an Israeli teen to a tryst in the West Bank, where he was murdered by other Palestinian terrorists.  

Abbas met with Muna and and 10 other released prisoners in Turkey.

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