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Photo: AP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: AP
Report: Abbas advancing Palestinian unity government
Amid fears of an agreement that would split Gaza Strip and West Bank into two separate entities, Palestinian president working to establish a new unity government—which will be headed by former Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad and accepted by Hamas—in preparation for general elections, Palestinian sources tell Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is working to establish a new Palestinian unity government—which will be accepted by Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions—in preparation for general elections in the Palestinian Authority, the London-based Arabic-language Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Monday, quoting Palestinian sources.

 

 

The government will be headed by former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the sources said.

 

Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Salam Fayyad in 2013  (Photo: EPA)
Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Salam Fayyad in 2013 (Photo: EPA)

 

According to the report, the plan is aimed at preventing any attempt to split the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into two separate political entities, amid concerns in the Palestinian leadership over the international plans to advance a significant agreement in Gaza as part of US President Donald Trump’s peace deal, which won’t include the Palestinian Authority.

 

Abbas and Fayyad met in Ramallah last week after not speaking to each other for a long time. There were no reports on the focus of the meeting.

 

Abbas and Fayyad’s relations were subject to a lot of tensions during Fayyad’s term as the Palestinian prime minister due to the significant projects he had advanced to build state institutions in the Palestinian Authority and in light of the extensive support he had received from Western countries.

 

An aide to Fayyad told the paper that he had a roadmap and an organized plan to end the split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and that he was willing to consider the offer if he would be given the required authorities and the independence to carry out his plan.

 

Gaza. Plans for an agreement would split the strip from the West Bank
Gaza. Plans for an agreement would split the strip from the West Bank

 

Qatari Ambassador to Gaza Mohammed Al-Emadi confirmed Sunday evening for the first time that Israel was holding indirect discussions with the Hamas terror group in an effort to formulate a solution to the humanitarian crisis in the strip that would include infrastructure projects.

 

It was the first time ever that a senior diplomat involved in Gaza admitted that such talks were taking place.

 

In an interview with a Chinese news agency, Al-Emadi said the United States was aware of, and involved in, the talks, but noted that “there still is no agreement between the two sides, only contacts ahead of an agreement.”

 

Al-Emadi is considered to be a respected diplomat by Israel, the US and by Hamas. He is given consistent access to the Gaza Strip from Israel via the Erez Crossing and is in contact with Israel's security establishment.

 

Al-Emadi mentioned a number of recommendations made by the White House for rehabilitating Gaza through infrastructural projects that would help its water supply, alleviate its paucity of electricity and create work for the residents.

 

“We demanded from the Israelis and the Americans the removal of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and we emphasized that. We are working on this but have not yet reached a result,” the Qatari diplomat stated without elaborating on what Hamas had offered in return.

 

Last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman struck an agreement with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to begin plans to build a seaport for Gaza that will operate in Cyprus and will be supervised by Israel, according to a report on Channel 2 News.

 

The handing of a benefits package to Gaza, however, was said to have been made contingent upon Hamas returning slain soldiers held in Hamas captivity and the release of Israeli citizens who are still alive and who are being held by the terror group.

 

In addition, it was reported that Israel would assist the Americans in leading the humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza who intend to pump huge sums of money into the economically crippled enclave as part of an effort to dramatically improve the quality of life for its residents.

 


First published: 07.02.18, 10:56
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