Hamas ready to hand over power to unity government
The Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has expressed readiness to hand over the administration of the besieged Gaza Strip to a Palestinian unity government.
The announcement was made in a Hamas cabinet statement issued on Tuesday, signaling that the two main Palestinian political groups of Hamas and Fatah are closer to an agreement on national unity.
Deputy Prime Minister Ziad al Zaza said the government “is ready to hand over its full responsibilities to the unity government,” the statement said.
The Hamas cabinet also noted it held its 343rd and final weekly meeting on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Azzam al Ahmed, an envoy from Fatah, said after talks in Gaza with Hamas officials that the two groups “have finished consultations on the national consensus government.”
On April 23, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which includes Fatah, pledged to settle their differences and form a unity government. Under the long-awaited deal, Hamas and Fatah are to establish the unity government within five weeks and hold national elections six months later.
The Israeli government reacted to the act of reconciliation among the Palestinians by canceling the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority and threatening sanctions against it.
The blockaded Gaza Strip has been administered by Hamas while the Palestinian Authority governs parts of the occupied West Bank.
Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006. The dispute marginalized Hamas governance to the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip. Fatah, however, set up headquarters in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank.