Pro-Hamas newspaper back on sale in West Bank in new unity step

A Palestinian Hamas policeman reads a copy of the Al-Ayyam newspaper in Gaza City. The Palestinian daily, which is edited and printed in the West Bank city of Ramallah, has been allowed by Hamas to be distributed in the Gaza strip for the first time in seven years

(Reuters) – A pro-Islamist newspaper was sold in the West Bank on Saturday for the first time in seven years, another sign of a Palestinian unity pact that prompted Israel to suspend peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

His Palestinian Authority (PA) permitted printers to roll out the tabloid, “Falasteen,” Arabic for Palestine, three days after Hamas Islamists in control of Gaza allowed a leading West Bank daily to be sold in their midst.

Abbas’s Fatah movement and Hamas announced a unity pact on April 23, with the stated aim of forming a joint government in five weeks, angering Israel and spurring it to shelve already faltering peace talks soon after.

Hamas rejects Israel’s existence and both the Jewish state and United States regard the group as a terrorist organization.