Middle East

Abbas, unity Cabinet to visit Gaza soon

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the swearing-in ceremony with the new unity government in the West Bank town of Ramallah on June 02, 2014. Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and members of the new Palestinian unity government will visit the Gaza Strip soon, Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah said Tuesday.

"Gaza is a precious part of the homeland," Hamdallah told a press conference following the new unity government's first meeting in Ramallah.

"All members of the government will go to Gaza despite the measures taken by Israel to prevent Gaza-based ministers from going to Ramallah," he said, adding that they might enter Gaza from Egypt.

The new unity government was sworn in by Abbas Monday in line with a reconciliation deal signed in April between Abbas' Fatah movement and Gaza-based Hamas.

Hamdallah denied reports that his government had dissolved the Prisoners' Affairs Ministry, which had been the subject of an earlier row between Fatah and Hamas.

"The ministry still exists and Social Affairs Minister Shawki al-Essa has been tasked with running it," he said.

Hamdallah went on to call on the international community "to support the Palestinian people with a view to ending the suffering of hunger-striking detainees."

Scores of Palestinian administrative detainees have maintained a hunger strike since late April to protest their ongoing detention in Israel without trial.

The Palestinian premier said his government was committed to all previous agreements between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.

On Monday, Israel's security cabinet declared its refusal to engage in peace talks with any Palestinian government that included Hamas.





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