Palestinian PM pleads unity in war-battered Gaza – Yahoo News
Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah urged rival factions to set aside their differences, even as protesters gave him a cool reception in war-battered Gaza on Wednesday.
It was only Hamdallah’s second visit to the Gaza Strip since a unity government agreed on by rivals Fatah and Hamas took office last June.
“We have come here today to strengthen national reconciliation and to restart dialogue with all Palestinian factions,” Hamdallah told a news conference in Gaza City, where he was to meet officials of the Islamist movement Hamas.
He vowed that civilian workers of Hamas’s de facto administration in Gaza would go on the payroll of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA), which is dominated by the Fatah party.
Several dozen protesters at the news conference chanting “Leave, Leave, Hamdallah!” held up banners that read: “No welcome for those who besieged Gaza”, an accusation that the PA was complicit in Israel’s blockade of the territory.
Hamdallah last visited the coastal strip in October for a show of Palestinian unity aimed at reassuring international donors at a conference in Cairo that month.
An April 2014 reconciliation deal leading to the unity government sought to bridge the gulf between the factions since Hamas evicted Fatah from Gaza in a week of deadly clashes in 2007.
But a devastating 50-day war last summer between Hamas and Israel as well as a dispute over payment of the salaries of tens of thousands of Hamas security forces have blocked progress on the deal.