Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal are expected to meet in Qatar on Monday to discuss the implementation of their recent reconciliation agreement, reports The Jerusalem Post.
Palestinian sources said that the talks would focus on the formation of a Palestinian “national consensus government” that would include representatives of various Palestinian factions including Fatah and Hamas. The sources predicted that the new government would be announced within two weeks.
Fatah-Hamas talks are also scheduled later this week in the Gaza Strip on the formation of the new unity government, which would be headed by Abbas. Its primary task would be to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections.
Hamas said last week that it has nominated some candidates to serve as ministers in the new government. According to the agreement, the government would serve for six months, after which Palestinians would head to the ballot boxes to elect a new president and parliament.
A Hamas official also announced preparations to incorporate 3,000 PA security personnel into the Hamas-controlled security forces in the Gaza Strip. Abdel Salam Siam, secretary-general of the Hamas government, said that the PA policemen and security officers would become part of the Gaza security establishment.
Hamas sources have insisted that they will still control their own security forces even after the implementation of any agreement with the PA.
Thousands of PA security personnel, mostly Fatah members, were left without work after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.
America, the EU and Israel all consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel. In addition to its own operations against Israel, Hamas has forged operational links with Al-Qaeda-inspired Salafist-jihadist groups in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, allowing it to order attacks on Israel without “leaving a fingerprint”, Israeli security sources have told IHS Jane’s.