The Palestinian government of national consensus will hold its first cabinet meeting in Gaza this week, an official said Monday, after Fatah and Hamas overcame years of bitter rivalry.
“The cabinet will on Thursday hold its first meeting in Gaza,” said government spokesman Ihab Bseiso.
The rival Palestinian factions signed a reconciliation deal in April aimed at healing the bad blood since Hamas expelled Fatah from Gaza in a week of deadly clashes in 2007.
The cabinet took office in June in the West Bank city of Ramallah but has yet to meet in Gaza, which was devastated in a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas-led militants that ended with a ceasefire on August 26.
Bseiso said the move was aimed at sending a strong signal of support for Gaza ahead of an international donors’ conference on reconstructing the enclave to be held in Cairo on Sunday.
“This is a message to the whole world that we have one government which should take responsibility for the rebuilding of Gaza,” he said.
At the donors’ conference, which is being chaired by Egypt and Norway, the Palestinian government is to ask for $4 billion to rebuild the Gaza Strip’s battered infrastructure.
April’s reconciliation agreement sought to end seven years of rival administrations, with Hamas ruling Gaza and Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, governing the West Bank.
Although the new cabinet was sworn in on June 2, Hamas has remained the de facto power in Gaza, prompting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who heads Fatah, to accuse the Islamist movement of running a shadow government in the enclave.
But, following the war — and with crucial international support in the balance — the two sides agreed on September 25 that the consensus government would take up the reins in Gaza and play a key role in the Strip’s reconstruction.