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Palestinian leaders hail reconciliation agreement, Israeli fury

April 24, 2014 10:26 P.M. (Updated: April 25, 2014 4:50 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- PLO reconciliation delegations from both Fatah and Hamas said on Thursday that the countdown for the formation of a unity government had begun, hailing the end of seven years of Palestinian political division.

Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq told Ma'an that "the countdown to end the state of disagreement is supposed to begin the moment the reconciliation agreement is signed, and the unity government to be formed in the declared period."

"There are many impediments but the will for reconciliation is greater," he added.

Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, meanwhile, told Ma'an that "the fulfillment of the reconciliation agreement has already begun, starting yesterday, and in the coming five weeks the forming of the unity government and the PLO meetings should be done."

"This is a Palestinian matter that should not concern Israel and we are persisting with reconciliation," he added, saying: "Israel considers only harm to Palestinians."

Mustafa al-Barghouthi, a member of the reconciliation delegation, asserted that the fulfillment of reconciliation and forming a unity government had begun in earnest on Thursday.

"We are happy with the Israeli anger over the reconciliation, which confirms the appropriateness of it, and that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a lying hypocrite who does not seek peace and we will not admit to his pressure."

Al-Barghouthi also said that Palestinians will witness real changes after the unity government is formed.

Bassam al-Salhi, another member of the reconciliation delegation, told Ma'an that "the legal framework of forming the unity government is supposed to begin and it is up to President Abbas to decide how it should be done."

"There are always complications in any case but it is most important that we overcome them with the positive attitude that led the discussions and the agreement," he added.

He also said that "Israeli opinion has no place in this because reconciliation is a top priority for Palestinians."

Regarding the negotiations meetings that Israel cancelled, al-Salhi said "we were relieved for not attending a pointless meeting in which Israel would fail and the US would be biased to Israel."

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