Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas agreed on the make-up of a national unity government on Tuesday, officials from both parties said, in the most significant step yet toward healing their seven-year rift.
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The groups decided on a list of independent, technocrat ministers who will run the government pending national polls in at least six months – moves they hope will revive institutions paralyzed since the parties fought a brief civil war in 2007.
Officials from the parties told a news conference in the Gaza Strip that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will make a formal announcement of the new government later this week, after choosing a religious affairs minister.
Israel objects to the reconciliation moves and regards Hamas – which refuses to recognise Israel or renounce arms – as a terrorist group. It has threatened financial sanctions against Abbas' Western-backed administration in the West Bank if the unity government goes ahead.