Fatah's central committee decided Tuesday night to suspend participation in the Palestinian coalition government with Hamas until infighting has subsided in Gaza.
A statement circulated to press said an emergency meeting was chaired by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and was attended by Fatah's central committee members.
It remains unclear whether Fatah has decided to withdraw completely from the national coalition, which was decided upon on February 8 by leaders from both Fatah and Hamas at a meeting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The Palestinian national unity government marked a power-share between Fatah, Hamas, and various independents loyal to the two movements with other factions represented in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) also gaining some influence.
According to the Mecca agreement, Hamas received 12 ministries plus the Prime Minister post, Fatah received 6 portfolios while the remaining 5 posts would go to independents, 3 chosen by Hamas and 2 chosen by Fatah. Other factions received four ministerial-level posts. The national unity government was formed in the first week of March, led by Prime Minister Ismail Haneya.
Unfortunately, infighting between Hamas and Fatah militants has intensified since last Thursday, leading the Fatah central committee to call on its members to "foil a coup attempt carried out by a violent group of Hamas militants against the Palestinian Authority and its security apparatuses."
Earlier on Tuesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry Chief of Emergency Mo'aweya Hassanein put the body count in latest clashes at 43 Palestinians dead and 80 wounded.
Hassanein told reporters that 21 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday night alone during fierce gunbattles to the east of Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, adding that 60 were wounded.
(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2007)