Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to head an interim unity goverment.
In what is being dubbed the ‘Doha Declaration,’ his Fatah faction and Islamist Hamas struck a reconciliation deal, paving the way for elections. Abbas has been talking to Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Qatar.
After years of separate Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza, the accord to form a unity administration of independent technocrats was welcomed by senior Palestinians.
Hanan Ashwari of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s executive committee said that the reconciliation, with Abbas at the helm, offers a way out of the crises and problems between Fatah and Hamas.
Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip also followed events closely.
Hailing the “dignified signing” of the deal by Abbas and Meshal, Gaza resident Hikmat Yusef called for action, not just pen on paper. “I hope it will be implemented as soon as possible on the ground,” he said. “We will not accept just a signature.
While Palestinians are happy about healing wounds, the move is likely to be condemned by Israel and the United States, who say the Islamist Hamas cannot be part of any peace efforts.