Palestinian sources reported on Saturday night that a meeting was held between senior officials of the rival Fateh and Hamas factions in Ramallah, in the northern part of the West Bank. The officials held talks regarding the latest developments and the tensions between the members and supporters of the two movements.

The Palestine News Network reported that the meeting continued beyond midnight and that leaders of the two movements decided to stop all sorts of violence and tension.

 The officials of the two movements who met on Saturday are Qaddoura Fares, Hatim Abdul-Qader, Ahmad Ghneim and Hasan Al Sheikh, all senior Fateh leaders, and Khalid Tafish, Nasser Ed Deen Al Sha’er and Wasfi Qabha from Hamas.  

The two parties also decided to push forward all efforts aiming at creating a Palestinian National Unity government.  Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, were informed of the meeting beforehand. 

Palestinian sources reported that the figures who initiated the meeting were encouraged by the Saturday agreement that ended the strike of public sector employees.  

Public sector employees started their strike in September 2005, after they were not paid for several months as a result of the international embargo imposed on the Hamas-controlled government.

Moreover, The Higher Follow-up committee for Palestinian factions in Gaza held a meeting on Saturday to discuss a proposal by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The proposal aims at resuming the dialogue between the Palestinian factions in an attempt to reach an agreement for a National Unity Government.

Media sources reported that Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, phoned president Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday and discussed the recent incidents and the relationship between Fateh and Hamas.

 Haniyya from the Hamas party, and Abbas from Fateh, also discussed the upcoming visit of the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Ramallah and her planned Sunday meeting with Abbas.  

On Saturday afternoon, Rice arrived in Israel and met with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni. She stated that the aim of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians should be establishing a Palestinian state living next to Israel.   Rice also met with the Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Avigdor Lieberman, the minister of the so-called “Strategic Threats”.