Islamic Jihad has rejected an offer by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to join his government. However Hamas said it was considering the proposal. Abbas invited the groups to discuss the formation of a unity government, whose prime agenda would be Israel’s Gaza pullout plan. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie made a similar invitation but Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they failed to respond because he had made his comments to reporters, rather than to them directly. Israel has condemned the idea, which, if it comes to fruition, will mark the first time armed groups form part of a Palestinian cabinet. Islamic Jihad said it would not be part of a Palestinian government while Israel’s occupation continued. Hamas’ popularity has grown during more than four years of violence, especially in Gaza, where it had a strong showing in local elections earlier this year.