June 20, 2011
Fatah-Hamas unity meeting canceled
Leaders of the Palestinians’ Fatah and Hamas factions have called off a high-profile meeting set to announce a new government.
The meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Fatah Party, and Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshal scheduled for this week was called off Sunday because the two sides cannot agree on a prime minister, according to reports.
The cancellation was called a blow to Palestinian unity efforts by The New York Times and other media outlets.
Abbas has been working to keep Western-backed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the position; Fayyad is not a member of Fatah. Hamas has rejected that nomination, saying that Fayyad has harmed its followers in the West Bank and that the prime minister should come from Gaza.
The Egyptian-brokered unity agreement was signed formally on May 4 at a ceremony in Cairo. Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which runs Gaza, have been at odds for the past four years.
Abbas reportedly is anxious to show the international community Palestinian unity before the Palestinians seek unilateral recognition of statehood from the United Nations in September.