Jerusalem Israel on Thursday said it would begin sealing the Gaza Strip after the Hamas-controlled Palestinian parliament is sworn in this weekend, stepping up the Israeli campaign to weaken the Islamic militant group.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, will demand that Hamas publicly accept his goal of reaching a peace deal with Israel and recognize past agreements with the Jewish state, officials said.
Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction, has refused to renounce violence or recognize Israel. But Hamas officials said Thursday they expect to reach a compromise with Abbas, and the group announced it would nominate Ismail Haniyeh as prime minister. He is known as a pragmatist and has served as a liaison between Hamas and the long-ruling Fatah Party.