The Palestinian rival groups of Hamas and Fatah took a major step toward forming a national unity government by hammering out a deal on new cabinet ministers.
“Hamas and Fatah have reached agreement on the names of the ministers who would serve in a new Palestinian unity government,” senior Hamas leader, Musa Abu Marzouk, said on Saturday.
Abu Marzouk added that the agreement was reached a few days ago during discussions between Hamas and Fatah officials in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Hamas and Fatah officials have already expressed hope that the unity government would be announced before the end of the month.
Abu Marzouk said acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas would come back to the Gaza Strip after the formation of the unity government.
Last month, Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which includes Fatah party, reached a reconciliation deal to resolve their differences.
Under the deal, Hamas and Fatah are to form a unity government within five weeks and hold national elections six months later.
Angered by the unity pact, the Tel Aviv regime suspended the so-called peace talks with the Palestinian Authority on April 24 and threatened to impose further sanctions against Palestinians.
On the same day, Israeli regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News that the negotiations with Palestinians would be “essentially dead” if the authority goes ahead with the unity deal with Hamas.
Netanyahu says Abbas should “tear up” the pact with Hamas, adding that Tel Aviv would not engage in talks with the Palestinian Authority while it has the backing of Hamas.
‘Israel killed the two-state solution’
Meanwhile, member of Fatah executive committee Tawfiq al-Tirawi said that Israel killed the two-state solution, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.
Al-Tirawi told the newspaper, "You say that the Israeli right wing does not want peace with the Palestinians, and my opinion is that the right, left and center in Israel are not willing to give the minimum for the establishment of a Palestinian state."
He said that he has never believed in the two-state solution and he opposed the recognition of Israel "free of charge" from the beginning.
"I was always convinced that the more we conceded to Israel, the more it would want. We gave up a great deal: in the solution, in Resolution 242, in the (recognition of the) existence of the State of Israel and in agreeing to a state within the 1967 borders. But Israel is not content with a state (within the 1967 borders), and it also wants part of the West Bank," he said.
‘Abbas is no longer a partner for peace’
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman slammed the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying "he is no longer a partner for peace" and that Israel is currently looking for alternatives from within Abbas's circle.
In an interview with the Israeli Channel 2 on Saturday, Lieberman said his ministry proposed an alternative plan to the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. However, he refused to disclose the details of the proposal.
Furthermore, Lieberman hinted at the existence of a secret channel of communication with officials close to Abbas but opposed to him. The alternative to Abbas, he said, would be Palestinian businessmen who reject both Hamas and Abbas's corruption.
He added that the price of Abbas's meddling in Israeli affairs and meetings with Israeli opposition would be Israeli meddling in Palestinian affairs through a secret channel that would "circumvent Abbas."
Livni under fire for Abbas meeting
In another development, Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni came under attack in the Zionist state on Sunday for talks with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, with senior officials insisting there was no intention to resume peace negotiations, AFP reported.
Thursday's meeting in London was the first between the two sides since the collapse last month of the latest round of talks, and came after both held separate talks with John Kerry.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and ministers quickly moved to distance themselves from the Livni-Abbas meeting, insisting it was private and did not signal any official intention to resume talks with the Palestinians.
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