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Palestinian unity gov’t convenes in Gaza for 1st time

PALESTINIAN UNITY GOV’T CONVENES IN GAZA FOR 1ST TIME

The Palestinian unity government convened in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, for the first time since it was formed in 2014.

"The government is resolved to assume its full responsibilities," Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told the government meeting.

"We will solve all outstanding issues in consultation with all Palestinian factions," he said.

Hamdallah arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday as part of effort to heal a decade-long rift between rival group Hamas and Fatah.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been politically divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of Gaza from Fatah, ending a short-lived unity government established after Hamas swept 2006 legislative polls that were ultimately rejected by Fatah, Israel and the international community.

Previous agreements for a unity government signed between Hamas and Fatah, Palestine's two leading political factions, failed to yield any concrete breakthroughs.

Recent weeks, however, have seen mounting hope that an ongoing Egypt-sponsored reconciliation process will be more successful.

Hamdallah praised Egypt's role in healing the Palestinian rift.

"Achieving Palestinian reconciliation encourages donor nations to meet their commitments towards Gaza," he said, going on to call on the international community to put pressure on Israel to "lift the siege on the Gaza Strip".

"We will not allow our national cause to be dragged in any Arab or international disputes," he said. "We call on everyone to join ranks and stand behind the Palestinian leadership and to give priority to our public interests."

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