PA government convenes in Gaza for the first time in three years

Hamdallah: “I urge everyone without exception to embrace the leadership, reconciliation and national unity and to put our national interest above factional and party considerations and interests.”

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October 3, 2017 11:43
1 minute read.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah holds cabinet meeting in Gaza, October 3, 2017. (Reuters)

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah holds cabinet meeting in Gaza, October 3, 2017. (Reuters)

For the first time in three years, the Palestinian Authority cabinet on Tuesday held its weekly meeting in the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, as well as all of the PA government ministers, traveled to Gaza on Monday in a bid to start work on ending the territorial division between the West Bank and Gaza.

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“We will undertake our responsibilities in administering the affairs of all sectors of the southern provinces, in consensus and complete partnership with the Palestinian factions and forces,” Hamdallah said at the outset of the cabinet meeting, using official language to refer to the Strip.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 when it ousted the Fatah-dominated PA from the territory. However, Hamas announced two weeks ago that it dissolved its governing body in Gaza and invited the PA to take its place.

Hamdallah added that the PA intends to resolve all outstanding differences with Hamas, incrementally.

The PA, Fatah and Hamas still have not come to a final agreement as to how the West Bank-based PA will take over Gaza.

For example, the two parties have stated contradictory positions on the future of Gaza’s security. The PA would like to take full control of Gaza’s security, while Hamas would like to maintain its armed wing, Izzadin Kassam.

Hamdallah called on Palestinians to unify around the Palestinian leadership and overcome factional differences.

“I urge everyone without exception to embrace the leadership, reconciliation and national unity and to put our national interest above factional and party considerations and interests,” he said.

He added that achieving reconciliation would encourage the international community to fund the rebuilding of Gaza.

The international community pledged $5.4 billion to reconstruct the Strip in the aftermath of the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge in 2014, but much of the promised funds have not been disbursed.

“Overcoming the obstacles to reconciliation and beginning to take tangible steps on the ground to end the division will motivate donor countries and parties to fulfill their commitments completely,” Hamdallah said.

The cabinet meeting was held in the Council of Ministers’ headquarters in Gaza, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s former home in the Strip.


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