Unity Government Needed to End Division: Mashaal

Hamas chief in exile Khalid Mashaal said Monday that a unity government must be formed to end the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Speaking to Palestine TV, Mashaal said that Palestinian factions had agreed to a political program to which Hamas would adhere, albeit with amendments. The program includes the creation of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The right of return for refugees must be guaranteed, and Hamas should not be asked to recognize Israel, Mashaal said.

The Hamas leader said that Palestinian parties had agreed on political partnership and on adopting popular resistance to continue the struggle against Israeli occupation, both key steps on which future plans can be built.

He leader urged all Palestinian sides to embody the positive atmosphere which had dominated his meetings with Abbas, saying that every Palestinian had a responsibility to put reconciliation into effect.

The separate governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are a ongoing symbol of division and a unity government must be formed to move forward, he stressed.

Referring to regional and international dynamics, Mashaal said that the US supports Israel and the Quartet has failed to hold Israeli accountable for its illegal actions. Netanyahu has his own priorities, he added, saying that the Israeli government is responsible for thwarting the political process.

In 2006 elections, Hamas defeated the Fatah movement, which had long-dominated Palestinian politics.

Fatah and Hamas leaders met last week to discuss reconciliation and other political parties joined the Egypt-brokered talks on Dec. 20.

The rival Palestinian factions took a significant step towards reconciliation on Thursday when Hamas said it planned to join President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization.

(Ma’an News)

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