Hamas, Fatah Agree to Form Palestinian Unity Govt

A united Palestinian territory moved closer to fruition Wednesday after the opposing Fatah and Hamas political groups agreed to form a unity government.

The reconciliation comes as efforts by Fatah leader and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas to have the United Nations recognize the territory as an independent state continue to advance. The agreement was unexpected as the two factions have never publicly showed efforts to reconcile. Abbas’ Fatah controls the West Bank while Hamas has been running the affairs in the Gaza area since a near civil war in 2007. A Fatah official said both sides have already agreed on a date for elections of the new unity government.

The reconciliation has received mixed reactions from political observers, with the negative analysis largely caused by Hamas being tagged a terrorist group by some countries, including the United States and Israel.

Israel has opposed the reconciliation, with no less than President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the proposed unity government a mistake that could derail the establishment of a Palestinian state. “It is impossible to have peace with both since Hamas is looking to destroy the state of Israel and says it openly,” Netanyahu said referring to the regular rockets fired by Hamas towards Israeli territory.