Agencies

Gaza, Oct 3: The Palestinian national unity government has taken over the administration of the Gaza Strip from Hamas, a government official said on Tuesday.

“We’ve considered what happened yesterday and today, an official handover to administer the Gaza Strip, so we already started practising the government’s missions,” said Yousef Al-Mahmoud, spokesman of the national unity government, after the weekly cabinet meeting in Gaza.

“The cabinet meeting stressed gaining back all establishments. This needs great efforts in order to start working on a right basis and correctly resolve all outstanding issues,” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Al-Mahmoud also voiced the government’s appreciation for “the important and historic role of Egypt” in brokering the deal to end the internal Palestinian division.

The spokesman said all government bodies will start working on the urgent missions in response to Gaza’s requirements including water, electricity and the reconstruction work.

“During the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister (Rami) Hamdallah asked the cabinet ministers to prepare full reports on all the initial needs of the population in the Gaza Strip, in order to improve life there,” Al-Mahmoud said.

The Hamas movement said in an official press statement that it has done everything to hand over the administration work, calling for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel sanctions against it.

“We have presented everything required in order to help the government its tasks, missions and responsibilities without hesitation, postponement or delay. In return, President Mahmoud Abbas should take an urgent decision calling off punitive measures taken against the Gaza Strip,” the statement said.

In response, Abbas said he will undo his recent measures against Gaza including cutting off salaries and reducing the payment of electricity bill, after a review of the government’s work in the coastal enclave.

Islamic Hamas movement and Palestinian President’s Fatah party were scheduled to hold an assessment meeting in Cairo next week where they will discuss the progress of the government’s first week of work in Gaza.

“The committees will start its discussions and studying all issues right after the meeting,” Al-Mahmoud said.

Earlier in the day, the Palestinian government held its first cabinet meeting in Gaza since October 2014.

“We are here to turn the page on division, restore the national project to its correct direction and establish the (Palestinian) state,” said Hamdallah.

Hamdallah and his ministers as well as chiefs of security arrived in Gaza on Monday to take over responsibilities in the coastal enclave.