A disagreement between Hamas and Fatah over ministerial appointments could delay the announcement of a unity government Thursday.
The crux of the disagreement is over who will serve as interior minister in the new unity government, and who will man the post of foreign minister, independent Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported, citing unnamed officials.
Abbas is reportedly keen on either keeping current Interior Minister Said Abu-Ali in his current position or appointing head of intelligence Majed Faraj to replace him, and naming Fatah minister Riyad al-Maliki as foreign minister, but Hamas is opposed in both cases.
While Hamas has not stated any specific preferences, independent Palestinian news agency Ma’an has reported that PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who both sides have agreed will keep his post in a unity government, could be named interior minister as well.
Abbas will likely move his announcement of the unity government, scheduled for Thursday, to some time early next week while negotiations continue, Palestinian officials said.
Hamas and Fatah agreed on April 23 to form a unity government within five weeks, which would pave the way for new presidential elections.
Following that announcement, Israel called off peace negotiations with the PA, saying that it refused to negotiate with any government that involved Hamas until the organization renounced violence and agreed to accept all previous agreements. Abbas has said that any unity deal will include those provisions, but Hamas has insisted it has no plans to give up its armed struggle.