Ramallah: Fatah will never approve of a unity or temporary government with Hamas before reconciliation is achieved between the two rival Palestinian groups, according to a top Fatah official.

In an interview with Gulf News, Jamal Muhaisen, a Member of the Fatah Central Committee, said Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad, assigned by President Mahmoud Abbas to form a new cabinet, has not consulted Fatah or the Palestinian Authority in offering to bring Hamas onboard a unity government while it is allowed to retain its control over the Gaza costal strip.

"Dr. Fayyad has not consulted us. And we strictly refuse any type of unity or temporary government with Hamas before reconciliation is achieved. It will never be a fact on the ground," Muhaisen said.

"We will share a government with Hamas only after we get together and end the dispute," he added.

"We believe Hamas has occupied Gaza illegally and, under such circumstances, how can we form a unity government with them?" he said. "Under the prevailing scenario it is not possible in any way. The priority should be reconciliation."

Muhaisen said a temporary government with Hamas was possible only after internal reconciliation, where such a government would run both the West Bank and Gaza Strip until the presidential and parliamentary elections.

He said Fatah will never accept leaving the security of Gaza in Hamas' hands while it participates in a unity government. "A unity government under the current Palestinian divisions is not a possibility," he reiterated.

"The current issue is bridging the gap between Fatah and Hamas to achieve unity, and nothing else will be even discussed."

Muhaisen also said Dr. Fayyad should work on a new Palestinian cabinet that incorporates ministers who are untainted and acceptable to all the Palestinian factions, political parties and independents.

"Any of the suggested names who are criticised in any way by any of the Palestinian factions will never be granted final approval for their portfolio," he said.

Dr. Fayyad had earlier announced he was ready to visit Gaza personally to discuss a unity government with Hamas under which it would be allowed to keep security control over the coastal strip and yet take part in the new cabinet.

The proposal was instantly refused, not only by Fatah but also by Hamas, which said he was not a legitimate prime minister and therefore was not legally empowered to form any Palestinian government over all of the Palestinian Territories.

In the past two weeks, Dr. Fayyad has been meeting various Palestinian political factions and parties, institutions of civil society and independents to form his new cabinet. According to the Palestinian Basic Law, two weeks were given to Dr. Fayyad to offer a list of minister to President Abbas. His deadline expires on Monday.

Muhaisen added, however, that a time extension would be granted to Dr. Fayyad to finish his consultations to from the new cabinet.