The rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have agreed to a reconciliation deal.
The surprise deal to form an interim government and hold general elections within a year was reached in secret negotiations in Cairo between the two sides, according to reports. A formal announcement of the reconciliation reportedly will be made next week.
“All points of differences have been overcome,” said Taher Al-Nono, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, according to Reuters.
The two sides have been at odds since Hamas violently ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip in 2007. Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, rules in the West Bank, while Hamas rules in Gaza.
Israel has a working relationship with Fatah but has no direct contact with Hamas, a designated terrorist organization that remains sworn to Israel’s destruction.
Reacting to news of the reconciliation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel could not carry out peace negotiations with a government that includes Hamas.
“You can’t have peace with both Israel and Hamas,” Netanyahu said of the Palestinian Authority. “Choose peace with Israel.”