Fateh and Hamas leaders meeting in Mecca signed on Thursday night a unity government deal. The deal came following two days of intensive talks and negotiations in Saudi Arabia. Fateh and Hamas leaders meeting in Mecca signed on Thursday night a unity government deal. The deal came following two days of intensive talks and negotiations in Saudi Arabia.
The Qatar-based, Al Jazeera News Agency published live images from the signing ceremony which was attended by the Saudi King Abdulla.
The deal was signed by Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Hamas political bureau chief, Khalid Mashal. Al Jazeera reported that Abbas officially asked Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, to form the new government, and to respect the signed peace deals with Israel. Mashal said that Hamas would not break the signed agreement for unity government, and added that all factions would respect it.
The Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine said on Friday it will not participate in the unity government but said it will give it all possible support.
Also, Mashal asked the international community to recognize the new government that would lead to the unity government. Nabil Amr, an advisor to Abbas, announced the agreement and read a letter from president Abbas to Ismail Haniyya, assigning him to the new cabinet within five weeks. The new government will be in accordance with the formula agreed during the talks. The letter also states that the new government led by Haniyya would recognize the previously signed agreements with Israel.
President Abbas said that the agreement would satisfy the Palestinians and bring them to peace. Meanwhile, Mashal stated that this agreement would unify the Palestinians and that Hamas would be committed to unity.
The agreement will also follow the Detainees’ Document which was placed by senior Palestinian detainees held by Israel, including Marwan Barghouthi. The Document calls for a Palestinian State in the territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.
The new formulation of the government will leave Haniyya in place as head of the government. The Minister of Interior was named by Hamas, he was identified as Hammouda Jarwan, 55, an independent figure; Fateh agreed.
The Ministry of Finance will be given to Salam Fayyad, from the Third Way Bloc, and the Foreign Ministry will be given to Ziad Abu Amro, independent.
Hamas will be in charge of nine ministries; Ministry of Education, Waqf and religious Affairs, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Sport, Ministry of National Economy, and a Minister without portfolio.
Hamas will also name an independent figure for the Ministry of Planning, Fateh will be in charge of six ministries; Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Detainees, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Agriculture, and will name an independent minister. The vice Prime Minister, and a minister without portfolio, will be named by Fateh. The ministries of Media, Womens Affairs, Culture and Tourism will be distributed between the rest of the factions which are The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Al Badeel Bloc, Independent Palestine Bloc, and the fourth remaining ministry will be given to Hamas.
Meanwhile, Israel demanded the International Community to confirm that the new government will recognize Israel’s right to exist. Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, said on Thursday evening that the Palestinian government must recognize the previously signed peace deals, and renounce violence.
Livni, currently visiting Spain, stated that all agreements are still valid, and that any government must recognize them. Livni added that the international community drew three requirements that the Palestinian government should accept; the recognition of Israel, renouncing violence, and adopting the previous Israeli-Palestinian peace deals.
Israeli government spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, repeated the same demands voiced by Livni. Hamas movement issued an official statement welcoming the agreement, and considered it a national achievement. The movement said that this agreement brought a sense of relief and comfort to the Palestinian people.
A Hamas spokesperson said that national reconciliation should be achieved, especially between Fateh and Hamas members. Fateh also welcomed the deal and considered it a positive step that would strengthen the Palestinian internal unity. Both Fateh and Hamas thanked Saudi Arabia and its king Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz for his continuous efforts and for hosting the unity talks that led to signing the unity deal in Mecca.