World Bulletin/News Desk
Ismail Haniyeh, deputy leader of Palestinian faction Hamas, voiced hope on Thursday that the Palestinian unity government's visit to the Gaza Strip – currently underway – would be a step towards "finalizing" Palestinian reconciliation.
"The visit should be devoted to finalizing the reconciliation file, including parliamentary and presidential elections and the reactivation of parliament and the Palestine Liberation Organization's leadership council," Haniyeh said as he received members of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's cabinet at his Gaza City residence.
Earlier Thursday, the nascent Palestinian government held its weekly meeting in the blockaded Gaza Strip for the first time since it was drawn up in June.
Speaking to cabinet ministers, Haniyeh said Gaza residents were looking to the government to immediately begin work on rebuilding the coastal enclave, much of which was destroyed during Israel's recent military onslaught.
Hamdallah, for his part, said the government was keen to take up the challenge of rebuilding the devastated territory.
The premier also accused Israel of trying to thwart the government's reconciliation efforts, asserting that the recent conflict wouldn't end until a just and comprehensive peace had materialized.
The Palestinian unity government was drawn up in June in line with an April reconciliation deal between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.
The new government has yet to assume political and security control over the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Ever since Hamas swept 2006 Palestinian legislative polls, Israel – which calls Hamas a "terrorist" group – has maintained a tight land-and-sea blockade on the coastal strip.
Israel tightened the blockade further after Hamas wrested control of the enclave from Fatah in 2007.
Thursday's government visit comes three days before an international conference on Gaza reconstruction kicks off in Egypt.
The conference comes in the wake of a 51-day Israeli military onslaught on Gaza that killed more than 2,150 Palestinians and injured nearly 11,000 others.
The offensive, which finally ended with an August 26 cease-fire deal, damaged or destroyed thousands of residential buildings in Gaza and vast swathes of the territory's infrastructure.
Last Mod: 09 Ekim 2014, 17:46