PA factions at Russian confab call for unity government

Representatives of the parties in the PA, including Hamas and other terrorist groups, agree to call for unity government in Moscow talks.

AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff ,

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

Representatives from Fatah and Hamas on Tuesday announced a deal to form a national unity government prior to the holding of elections, after three days of reconciliation talks in Moscow.

"We have reached agreement under which, within 48 hours, we will call on Mahmoud Abbas to launch consultations on the creation of a government" of national unity, senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told a press conference, speaking in Arabic.

After the government is formed, the PA would set up a national council, which would include Arabs from outside of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, and hold elections.

"Today the conditions for (such an initiative) are better than ever," said Ahmad.

The non-official talks in Moscow began on Sunday under Russian auspices with the goal of restoring "the unity of the Palestinian people."

Representatives came from Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other factions and terrorist organizations

Abbas's secular party Fatah and the Islamist Hamas have been at loggerheads since the latter seized Gaza in a near civil war in 2007, murdering many Fatah terrorists and even hurling them from buildings.

Last year the PA postponed the first municipal polls in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza in 10 years after the high court ruled they should be held only in Judea and Samaria, where the Fatah faction maintains power thanks to the protection of the IDF.

The last time the PA staged elections in which both Hamas and Fatah took part was in 2006.

The representatives also met on Monday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and asked him to dissuade incoming US president Donald Trump from carrying out a campaign pledge to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We sensed understanding on the part of Mr. Lavrov," said Ahmad.

Ahmad and Moussa Abu Marzouk of Hamas spoke derisively of the Quartet -- the United States, Russia, the EU and UN -- in its years-long effort to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The Quartet's work completely failed. It was unable to advance the decisions taken by the international community, including (UN) resolutions," said Ahmad.

"It is imperative to find a new working mechanism for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he said.

Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, said he no longer wanted to work with the Quartet but instead with countries and organisations on an individual basis.

"Russia can play a substantial role" in the region, he said.