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Fatah-Hamas score settling holds unity government hostage

Amid ongoing disputes between Fatah and Hamas, the fate of a new government still hangs in the balance.
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (R) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah at Haniyeh's house in Gaza City October 9, 2014. Hamdallah arrived in the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip on Thursday and convened the first meeting of a unity government there since a brief civil war in 2007 between Hamas and forces loyal to the Fatah party.    REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR49J7M

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Consultations over the new government formation have revealed the depth of the crisis and division between the Fatah and Hamas movements. As Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tasked Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad on June 23 with communicating and consulting with the Palestinian factions to form a government, controversial issues that all parties had previously tried to overcome have resurfaced. While Ahmad accused Hamas of causing the consultations and potential consensus to fail, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri replied that “Fatah seeks to tailor the government as per its own preferences.”

After failing to reach common ground, Abbas tasked Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in July with bringing about minor changes to his government instead of forming a new government. This has angered Hamas, which considered it a coup against the reconciliation, Zahri said.

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