By Mohamed Majed and Hani al-Shaer
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) - Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Thursday afternoon returned to the West Bank city of Ramallah following a landmark three-day visit to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Before departing the blockaded coastal enclave, Hamdallah visited Gaza City’s Dar al-Shifa Hospital, the territory’s largest medical facility, to witness first-hand the difficult circumstances faced by Gaza’s local health sector.
He also inspected a water desalination plant in the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
“The [Palestinian unity] government is ready to get down to work, but we’re still awaiting the outcome of [next week’s] meeting in Cairo between Palestinian factions,” Hamdallah told reporters before his departure.
“There are still some issues that must be agreed upon before they can be implemented,” he said. “Other decisions, however, can be implemented immediately.”
“We want all [Palestinian] factions to agree on everything before the [unity] government assumes its responsibilities [in Gaza],” he added.
He went on to reassure the people of Gaza, that, given sufficient political will, “all outstanding issues can be resolved”.
In a major step toward Palestinian reconciliation on Tuesday, Hamdallah held his first cabinet meeting in Gaza since the unity government was drawn up in 2014.
Cairo is currently leading efforts to heal a decade-long political split between Gaza-based resistance group Hamas and the West Bank-based Fatah movement.
The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have remained politically and administratively divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of the strip from Fatah following several days of street fighting.
Hamas’s capture of Gaza in 2007 ended an earlier -- if short-lived -- unity government that was established after Hamas swept 2006 Palestinian legislative polls.