The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas have announced that a deal has been reached to form a new unity government. Abbas said the political agenda of the government had been finalised and that he hopes the new coalition will be formed within days. The Hamas administration had come under criticism recently, with strikes by doctors and teachers throughout the Palestinian territories, angry over the non-payment of salaries for the last 6 months.
Palestinians hope the creation of the unity coalition will lead to the lifting of a Western aid embargo imposed on the Hamas government for refusing to recognise Israel. However it is still unclear if the militant Islamist movement has explicitly changed its position on this. Israel said the new government could create momentum for peacemaking if it recognised Israel, renounced violence and ensured the release of a soldier abducted by militants in June.
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