Palestinian Prime Minister designate, Ismail Haniya, confirmed Friday that consultations on the upcoming unity government have been finalized. He called on both Hamas and Fatah to submit the names of their own candidates.

In the Friday sermon in Gaza City, Haniya maintained that Palestinian efforts are going well and that all parties concerned are keen to conclude a unity cabinet to block any moves to obstruct realization of such a cabinet.

The Palestinian PM pointed out that the Israeli response to the Palestinian factions’ agreement meant that the Palestinian people are going in the right direction; protecting their own unity and rejecting outside intervention.

Commenting on the underway Israeli attack on the West Bank city of Nablus, Haniya told worshipers at the Imam Alshafi’y mosque in Gaza: “what is going on in Nablus reflects the Israeli actions in occupied east Jerusalem. The Israeli army has so far destroyed more that 215 Palestinian-owned houses and stores”.

Haniya described the city as ‘traumatized’, stating that the Palestinian government would assist Nablus with half a million US dollars, and calling on all Arab countries to stand by such a traumatized city.

On another front, the Palestinian premier appealed to the Iraqi government to ensure the protection of Palestinian inhabitants, who have been exposed to attacks by unknown Iraqi militias.

All Palestinian factions, excluding some leftist groups and the Islamic Jihad, agreed to join a likely unity government following a Fatah-Hamas power-sharing deal in the Saudi Arabian city of Makkah early in February.

The international Quartet for promoting peace in the Middle East, including the United Nations, European Union and Russia, reiterated demands that any Palestinian government should recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept past signed agreements as preconditions for lifting the economic embargo that has been in place since Hamas came to power last year.