Israel allowed two Gaza-based Palestinian ministers to travel to the West Bank for a cabinet meeting

February 26, 2015 5:19 pm

Israel allowed two -based Palestinian ministers to travel to the
for a cabinet meeting Thursday for the first time since the
unity government took office in June, officials said.

Housing
minister Mufid Hasayneh and justice minister Salim al-Saqa passed
through the Israeli-controlled Erez border crossing and arrived in
Ramallah, government spokesman Ihab Bseiso told AFP.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) with the members of the Palestinian unity government. (File photo: AFP)

“It is the first time they have done so since the government was formed,” he said.

Israeli authorities confirmed the ministers had been allowed to travel
to the West Bank but gave no indication why the restrictions were eased.

The international community has urged Israel to lift its blockade of
the strip, which includes travel and goods restrictions, warning of a
worsening security situation and eventual explosion of violence if it
remains in place.

Of the 17-member Palestinian cabinet, four
are based in Gaza and the rest in the West Bank, where President Mahmud
Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) has its headquarters.

The
government was formed on the back of a unity deal between the
Liberation Organization, which dominates the PA, and Hamas, which
controls Gaza.

The cabinet of independents, agreed on by both
sides, has until now had to meet without its Gaza ministers, due to
Israeli travel restrictions.

Israel blocked Gaza ministers’
travel after the government was sworn in, slamming the PA for signing an
agreement with Israel’s sworn enemy Hamas.

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