GAZA - Hamas, its Gaza Strip stronghold cut off by the new military-backed government in Egypt, called upon rival Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday to end their six-year schism and form a unity government.
Abbas’s secular, US-backed Fatah faction lost a 2006 ballot to Islamist Hamas. They sat in an uneasy alliance until a civil war the following year left Hamas ruling Gaza while Abbas’s authority was limited to the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Egypt brokered a Palestinian reconciliation deal in 2011 but it was never implemented. In Cairo, meanwhile, Islamist President Mohamed Mursi was toppled by the army, which treats Egypt’s Hamas neighbors as security threats. “Our conditions do not allow for keeping up differences,” Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister in the Gaza administration, said in a speech calling n Abbas and Fatah to renew dialogue with Hamas.