Palestinians Meet on Unity Government

GAZA (Reuters) -

Officials from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and the rival Hamas group met in Gaza on Tuesday to discuss the make-up of a unity government they hope will end a seven-year schism.

Officials from the two groups said they planned to propose non-politically affiliated candidates for seats in a unity cabinet which will be tasked with preparing presidential and parliamentary elections after six months.

Azzam Al-Ahmed, the senior Fatah official sent by Western-backed Abbas, led the talks with Hamas’s delegation, headed by the exiled Moussa Abu Marzouk.

Palestinian sources in Ramallah, the seat of Abbas’s administration, said they wanted the list of names to be ready by Thursday when he meets U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in London to discuss the stalled peace talks with Israel.

Days after Abbas made the announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged him to “tear up” his pact with Hamas, saying Israel would not take part in peace talks with a Palestinian government backed by the terrorist group.