The Palestinian rival groups of Hamas and Fatah have taken a major step toward forming a national unity government by hammering out a deal on new cabinet ministers.
“Hamas and Fatah have reached agreement on the names of the ministers who would serve in a new Palestinian unity government,” senior Hamas leader, Musa Abu Marzouk, said on Saturday.
Abu Marzouk added that the agreement was reached a few days ago during discussions between Hamas and Fatah officials in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Hamas and Fatah officials have already expressed hope that the unity government would be announced before the end of the month.
Abu Marzouk said acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas would come back to the Gaza Strip after the formation of the unity government.
Last month, Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which includes Fatah party, reached a reconciliation deal to resolve their differences.
Under the deal, Hamas and Fatah are to form a unity government within five weeks and hold national elections six months later.
Angered by the unity pact, the Tel Aviv regime suspended the so-called peace talks with the Palestinian Authority on April 24 and threatened to impose further sanctions against Palestinians.
On the same day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News that the negotiations with Palestinians would be “essentially dead” if the authority goes ahead with the unity deal with Hamas.
Netanyahu says Abbas should “tear up” the pact with Hamas, adding that Tel Aviv would not engage in talks with the Palestinian Authority while it has the backing of Hamas.