Another national unity government announced by Fatah and Hamas

The long-time Palestinian rivals are once again trying to form a single government, despite blaming each other for widespread power outages


After days of demonstrations in the Gaza Strip, widespread arrests carried out by Hamas authorities and exchanges of accusations between Gaza and Ramallah, the two rival Palestinian leaderships have once again announced they are forming a national-unity government.

The protests across Gaza, particularly in the large refugee camps, have been in response to the lengthening power cuts, which have left much of the strip dark for nights on end. Most parts of Gaza are now receiving only three or four hours of electricity a day. A young man who set himself alight at one of the protests was taken to hospital with severe burns.

The outages are due to a shortage of diesel fuel for the Gaza power station. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have blamed each other for the shortage, which is partly due to an argument over payment of duties for the diesel. The widespread demonstrations continued in to the weekend, despite the arrest of around 300 protestors by Hamas and threats of violence if they did not return home. Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, blamed Hamas but was careful not to take responsibility for the protests, probably due to the fact that it was also being blamed by Gaza residents for the situation.

On Monday, Turkey and Qatar jointly shipped additional shipments of diesel to Gaza through Israel, alleviating the shortage somewhat and allowing around eight daily hours of electricity, though the argument between Hamas and the PA has yet to be resolved.

Despite the disagreements over energy supplies, on Tuesday evening, delegations from Fatah and Hamas which had been meeting in Moscow since Sunday announced they had reached a deal on establishing a unity government. The agreement has yet to be ratified in Gaza and Ramallah and is likely to end in acrimony; a series of similar deals announced over the last six years have failed, despite regular attempts to bridge the chasm between the two main Palestinian movements, caused by the Hamas coup in Gaza in 2007.

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