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Fatah and Hamas taking steps to form a unity government

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On Wednesday, rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah announced that after two days of talks in Gaza, they have agreed to begin working together again for the first time in seven years. Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Eitta said that an interim government could be finalized in five weeks.

As CNN reports, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza have been run separately since the mid-2000s, with Fatah governing in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. The split began in 2006, after Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian parliament, and was further fractured when Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007. The new talks began earlier in the week, after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a delegation of Fatah members to meet with Hamas representatives.

After the news broke, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office canceled peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority that were set to take place Wednesday night. In a statement, Netanyahu said that Abbas "needs to choose between peace with Israel and an agreement with Hamas.... Whoever chooses Hamas does not want peace." Israel does not recognize Hamas, and considers it to be a terrorist organization (as does the U.S.).

There are still many questions that need to be answered about the reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas, including who would lead this new united government and when new elections could be held.