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Palestinian government meets in Gaza, first meeting since 2014

Ⓒ AFP – MAHMUD HAMS – | Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (c), on his arrival in Beit Hanoun, on 2 October 2017 in the Gaza Strip

The Palestinian government met in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the first since 2014, which is expected to materialize the return of the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority to the Hamas-controlled territory, an AFP journalist said.

The holding of this council of ministers must also illustrate the progress of the reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas Islamist movement after a decade of devastating disagreements.

Despite the circumspection fueled by the failure of previous attempts at rapprochement, the visit begun on Monday by Mr. Hamdallah, the first since 2015, must prepare the ground for a progressive transfer of responsibilities – at least civilians – from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority , from which the Palestinian government emanates.

Hamas evicted the Gaza Authority in 2007 at the cost of a quasi-civil war with Fatah, its rival dominating this interim entity created by the Oslo Accords and supposed to prefigure an independent Palestinian state.

Since then, the Authority has been exercising its limited power only in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel for 50 years and distant from Gaza some tens of kilometers across Israeli territory.

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