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Hamas, Fatah Announce Plans to Present Unity Government Saturday

Leaders of rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah say they will present a unity government to parliament on Saturday for a vote of confidence.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the ruling Hamas faction and President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah met Wednesday to finalize details for the coalition government - including who will hold the key position of interior minister.

Officials from both sides say the composition of the new government will be unveiled Thursday.

The Palestinians hope the deal will end months of factional fighting and halt a Western aid embargo on the Hamas-led government.

The factions agreed last month to form a unity government during talks in Saudi Arabia. The agreement did not require Hamas to recognize Israel or renounce violence.

The United States, the European Union and Israel classify Hamas as a terrorist group.

In other news, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish West Bank settlements says one third of land allotted for the settlements is privately owned by Palestinians.

Peace Now issued figures drawn from a database of Israel's Civil Administration, which governs the West Bank. The Civil Administration called the report inaccurate.

The U.S.-backed "road map" for Middle East peace calls for an end to settlement activity.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.