Bosses from the 13 major Palestinan factions have met with Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie in the Gaza Strip as President Yasser Arafat lies in a Paris hospital.On the agenda were political issues, the security situation and possible ways to share government.
With analysts predicting chaos if Arafat dies the groups were keen to stress the need to uphold the rule of law. Qurie’s rare visit to Gaza is being seen as a bid to bring powerful forces like Hamas on board. The Islamic militants have often complained they do not have enough say in decision-making within the Palestinian Authority. Before Arafat became ill there were violent clashes between rival organisations and security forces as they jockeyed for position ahead of an expected Israeli pull-out next year. Qurie has assumed some powers from Arafat, and is in a joint leadership position with former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas.