Palestinian unity govt meets in Gaza -UPDATED

The Palestinian national unity government was formed following a reconciliation deal signed by Palestinian political rivals Hamas and Fatah in April.

Palestinian unity govt meets in Gaza -UPDATED

World Bulletin/News Desk

The Palestinian unity government on Thursday held its weekly meeting in the Gaza Strip for the first time since being drawn up in June.

Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah said his government would undertake the reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip in the wake of Israel's recent 51-day military onslaught on the coastal enclave.

"What we have seen [in terms of destruction in Gaza] was upsetting… it requires us to immediately start rebuilding what has been destroyed by Israel's war machine," he said.

More than 2,150 Palestinians were killed and nearly 11,000 injured over seven weeks of crippling Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in July and August.

The onslaught, which finally ended with an August 26 Egypt-brokered cease-fire, also damaged and destroyed thousands of residential buildings across the territory.

Al-Hamdallah said his government was looking to an international donor conference in Cairo – slated for Sunday – to rebuild the Gaza Strip.

He also said that the unity government would seek to "consolidate" Palestinian institutions.

The Palestinian unity government was formed 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 of the Gaza Strip.

Ever since resistance faction Hamas – which Israel deems a "terrorist" organization – swept 2006 Palestinian legislative polls, Israel has imposed a tight land-and-sea blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Israel tightened its Gaza blockade further after Hamas wrested control of the enclave from Fatah in 2007.

Hamdallah's visit to Gaza may restore some hope among ordinary Palestinians, demoralised by conflict, eight years of political paralysis and dwindling hopes of a Palestinian nation.

"We have put years of division behind us and we have begun to consolidate reconciliation as a core step to lobby the international community and its influential powers to bear their responsibility towards rebuilding Gaza, which requires lifting the unjust (Israeli) blockade," Hamdallah said.

Palestinian officials said this week that Israel may begin next week to lift curbs on the entrance of goods into Gaza after years of an economic blockade.

"For the first time I feel unity is possible, I hope what am seeing right now is real and that it will last and not be a dream," said 26-year-old taxi driver Hani Ahmed, as he watched live television footage of Hamdallah's arrival in Gaza at an electronics store in Gaza City.

 

Last Mod: 09 Ekim 2014, 15:56
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