RAMALLAH (Ma'an) – Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi gave his blessing to a Palestinian reconciliation deal, in a statement also marking the 66th memory of the Nakba.
Barghouthi saluted all Palestinian martyrs and emphasized that the right of return for Palestinians who have been displaced from their homes is a sacred, non-negotiable right. He said any solution for the Palestinian cause that does not include the right of return is not a legitimate solution.
Barghouthi highlighted that national unity as the key for freedom for repressed nations. He called for protecting the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah and providing every opportunity to make it happen.
The jailed leader stressed the need for a national strategy for facing the challenges threatening the Palestinian cause, mainly the Israeli occupation as well as "Judaisation" of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian religious sites.
He encouraged Palestinian efforts for joining international treaties, agreements and organizations for the need of obtaining the Palestinian rights. He also encouraged the Palestinian, Arab and international economic, political and diplomatic boycott of Israel along with increasing public resistance.
Barghouthi said that for two decades negotiations with Israel have been unsuccessful because of the constant Israeli rejection of ending occupation and admitting Palestinian rights.
He also backed an ongoing hunger strike and called for all Palestinians and Palestinian parties to support their prisoners in Israeli jails.
In Gaza City on Wednesday, Hamas and Fatah officials held a three-hour meeting in what officials described as a "positive" atmosphere.
Head of Fatah's negotiation team Azzam al-Ahmad said after the meeting that talks will continue and officials will abide by a five-week deadline to form a unity government.
Mousa Abu Marzouq, head of the Hamas negotiating team, said the talks would be finalized next week and a unity government would be announced shortly afterwards.
The proposed candidates for the unity government are politically "impartial," Fatah official Fayez Abu Atiyeh told Ma'an, with Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri adding that the formation of a proposed unity cabinet is nearly complete.
Earlier, Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said that he believed the unity government would achieve its goals and "our mission is to make it succeed and to mobilize our people behind its national goals."
"We will clean the road to reconciliation from all obstacles and landmines, and I hereby call on our brothers in the West Bank to take the same path and to maintain freedoms," he said, while addressing Gaza members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
On April 23, the Fatah-led PLO and Hamas announced a national unity deal to end seven years of political division between the largest two Palestinian parties, with a national unity government to be set in place within five weeks.
The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements -- one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha -- which have as of yet been unimplemented.