Egypt hails 'opportunity' for Palestinian unity

MAHMUD HAMS

Convening the Cabinet was the first step in efforts to reunite the West Bank, ruled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, with Gaza since the militant Islamic Hamas movement seized control of the seaside territory in 2007.

During a TV interview with the Egyptian journalist Amro Adeeb, who arrived in Gaza yesterday, Haniyeh said that any Palestinian has the right to bear arms and resist Israel.

"We are not prepared to accept bogus reconciliations in which the Palestinian side apparently reconciles at the expense of our existence", Netanyahu said.

The meeting of the government, which is based in the occupied West Bank, comes as part of moves to end a decade-long split between the PA and the Islamist Hamas movement, which runs Gaza.

The prime minister said that reconciliation will also oblige donors to meet the pledges they made in Cairo in 2014 toward the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following Israel's devastating war, according to Wafa.

On Monday, he met with senior Hamas figures, including leader Ismail Haniya.

Information officer of Gaza's Chamber of Commerce Maher Al-Tabba' told Xinhua that the businessmen underlined the importance of governmental support to the reconstruction of Gaza and work to lift restrictions on access of building and construction material into the Strip.

The disarmament dispute came after the authority's Cabinet held a meeting in Gaza and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi hailed the effort at Palestinian reconciliation as a harbinger of Middle East peace.

More than two million people live in impoverished Gaza, which has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt for years.

Hamas called for the measures to be ended immediately as a show of good will.

"All control needs to be in the hands of the PA", said Abbas.

Last month, the Islamists announced they were willing to cede civilian control to the PA, following Egyptian pressure.

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