The president and prime minister of the Palestinian Authority arrived in the Gaza Strip with Israel’s approval and held the PA’s weekly cabinet meeting there as part of the reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas. Emphasizing the importance of the event, Abbas said: “There will be no Palestinian state without unity and reconciliation.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas

PA President Mahmoud Abbas Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah held a cabinet meeting in Gaza on Tuesday morning as part of efforts to reach a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with Egyptian television: “There will be no Palestinian state without unity and reconciliation.”

The reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas, which began with the arrival of Hamas and senior PA officials in the Gaza Strip yesterday (Monday), continued this morning with the joint cabinet session. The meeting was supported by the United States and its Arab allies; though Israel has not released its official position on the issue, it did allow the PA leadership and entourage to cross from the West Bank into the Gaza Strip.

Fatah and Hamas on the path to reconciliation

Fatah and Hamas on the path to reconciliation Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

“I am optimistic that the time will come for us to get an independent Palestinian state, but not soon,” Abbas said in the interview with Egyptian television that was broadcasted last night. “We disagree with Hamas ideologically, but we can not deny that they are part of the Palestinian people.” The president of the PA stressed that there exists a strong desire to reconcile their differences and said that he would return the budget to the Gaza Strip once Hamas relinquishes government positions.

Since 2011, many attempts have been made to resolve the dispute between the two movements and form a unity government- all of which have failed. In 2014, Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a national reconciliation government, but Hamas’ government continued to rule the Gaza Strip.