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Palestinian unity government to meet in Gaza for first time

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 Itongadol.- Four months after Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, West Bank lawmakers to make their way to war-torn coastal enclave for first session

The Palestinian unity government is set to meet in the Gaza Strip on Thursday for the first time since its establishment four months ago.

Citing a report by the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam newspaper, Israel Radio reported late Wednesday that Palestinian lawmakers from the West Bank will make their way to the coastal enclave, the site of heavy clashes between IDF troops and armed militants this past summer, and stay there for several hours. It will be the first meeting between Gaza and West Bank lawmakers since the historic reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas — and the drawn-out war that followed.

Most of the members of the joint Hamas-Fatah government are from the West Bank, while a smaller percentage are from the Gaza Strip, the newspaper said. Its prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, is a Fatah member and prominent West Bank academic.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Israel Radio quoted deputy Palestinian prime minister Muhammad Mustafa saying Palestinian Authority observers would begin to man the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings into the Gaza Strip in the coming days.

He said the unity government would take responsibility for the crossings and that no members of any Palestinian organization would be allowed near them, as per the truce agreement reached with Hamas in Cairo.

Earlier Wednesday, ahead of key donor talks in Cairo, a top US official said Israel must play a role in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, also pressing all sides to agree to a lasting ceasefire.

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