Palestinians agree unity government

Agreement on interior ministry position completes deal between Fatah and Hamas.

    Haniya has asked parliament to convene on Saturday morning to vote on the new line-up [AP]

    Final approval

     

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    Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for president Mahmoud Abbas, said: "The government is now ready and its composition will be announced on Thursday morning."

     

    Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the rival Hamas movement, said Haniya has already asked parliament to convene on Saturday at 0900 GMT to vote on the new line-up.

     

    The two sides agreed at a summit in Mecca in February to form a unity government after months of fighting in Gaza that left dozens of Palestinians dead.

     

    Hani al-Qawasmi, a senior interior ministry official with good relations with both Hamas and Fatah, was named as the new interior minister.

     

    Interior minister

     

    Speaking exclusively to Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza, al-Qawasmi said: "It's a very serious job, I have not yet been told about the nature of this role.

     

    "We will depend on the goodwill of the people of the country and will work things out in the right way."

     

    Senior cabinet members

    Prime minister: Ismail Haniya, Hamas

    Deputy prime minister: Azzam al-Ahmad, Fatah

    Culture: Bassam El Salehi, Peoples party (Communist)

    Foreign: Ziad Abu Amr, Independent

    Finance: Salam Fayad, Independent

    Health: Radwan al-Akhras, Fatah

    Information: Mustafa Barghouti, Independent

    Interior: Hani al-Qawasmi, Independent

    Transportation: Saidi al-Krunz, Fatah

    Planning: Sameer Abu Aicheh, Independent

    Public works: Samih al Abed, Fatah

    Prisoner Affairs: Suleiman Abu Sneina, Fatah, West Bank

    Secretary of state: Khuloud Ehdeib, Independent

    Social Affairs: Saleh Ziedan, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine

    Israel
    has vowed to boycott the unity government, including non-Hamas ministers, unless it recognises the Jewish state, renounces violence and accepts interim peace deals as demanded by the Quartet of Middle East mediators.

     

    Washington has also made clear to Palestinian officials that the embargo will not be lifted until the three conditions are met.

     

    Abu Rudeina also urged the international community to give the government a chance, despite misgivings about Hamas.  

     

    "There will be a new Palestinian government and we call on all parties, including the Arabs, to work and live with this government, and to give it an opportunity," he said.

     

    "The moment we come to an agreement with Israel we will go to a referendum and the Palestinian people will be the final ones to decide."

     

    Palestinians hope the deal will end fighting between secular Fatah and Hamas Islamists, as well as ease a crippling aid embargo of the Palestinian Authority by western governments.

     

    Hours before the announcement, nine people were wounded in clashes between Hamas and Fatah factions in northern Gaza on Wednesday, hospital sources said.

     

    They said the clashes broke out in Beit Lahya, where about 12 members of the two factions were kidnapped.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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