Palestinian PM leads unity cabinet in Gaza

It marks the first step in the most ambitious attempt at reconciliation since Hamas seized power of the coastal strip in 2007.

Hamas ousted the Fatah party in 2007 after winning elections the year before.

He said all outstanding administrative issues, including the issue of public employees, would be gradually dealt with in the framework of the 2014 Cairo agreement "within the available resources".

The return of the PA to Gaza had been cautiously welcomed by the United States and the United Nations, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it could be a "bogus" reconciliation "at the expense of our existence". This isn't a Palestinian reconciliation, but rather Mahmoud Abbas cozying up to a murderous terror organization", adding that "Transferring funds to a Hamas government is like Israel transferring money to ISIS in return for the cash.

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Mr Hamdallah later met Hamas political leader Ismail Haniya and its Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar.

Hamdallah also praised Hamas, Gaza's de facto ruler for the last decade, for agreeing to the unity government's assumption of control over the enclave.

A statement by President Abbas that included a comparison between Hezbollah and Hamas Military wing in the Gaza Strip has caused widespread confusion in the past few hours as Abbas said he would not accept any "illegal" weapons. Palestinian militants have fired about 11,000 rockets into the Jewish state since Israel removed its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005.

"If the region stays engaged, if Egypt's role continues, and if the political parties themselves continue to show the willingness they are now showing to work with us on this process, then it can succeed", he told AFP news agency.

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Gaza has suffered acute shortages of electricity and medical supplies this year as a result of punitive measures imposed by Abbas in an effort to ratchet up pressure on Hamas.

For one thing, this is far from being the first attempt at Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, all the others having broken down sooner or later - and usually sooner.

Abbas told Egyptian TV station CBC on Monday there could be only "one state, one regime, one law and one weapon" in the Gaza Strip, reiterating a long-held position that security should only be in the hands of the Palestinian Authority (PA). "The word "reconciliation" is sometimes understood by Hamas in one way, and the West Bank in another way", says Sami Abdel-Shafi, an independent political consultant in Gaza City. "The Palestinian cause has been one of Egypt's top priorities during meetings with world leaders or through Egypt's participation in worldwide forums", Sisi said.

The PA has signed peace deals with Israel, but Hamas was not party to them and does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

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"Hamas demanded that the people's grievances be addressed in the meeting", he said.

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