Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement to end their 4-year-old rift by forming a caretaker government of independent technocrats and holding new elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip next year, officials said Wednesday.
The pact, brokered by the Egyptian intelligence agency and interim government, followed several days of secret meetings in Cairo.
But Palestinian officials acknowledged that they have not yet resolved all of their long-standing differences, and it remains unclear whether they can work together to implement a deal over the coming year. Previous attempts at reconciliation have failed between the mainstream, secular Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules Gaza.
Unanswered questions include who will serve as prime minister and run security forces and what will be the government's policy toward Israel.
Both factions have been under growing pressure from the Palestinian public to end their division, which has distracted from efforts to end the Israeli occupation and win statehood.
Analysts said the recent political upheaval in Egypt and other neighboring Arab nations helped propel an agreement amid worries that Palestinians might also begin to rebel against their leaders.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are also eager to demonstrate that they represent all Palestinian territories as they prepare to make a bid for statehood recognition from the United Nations in September.
Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Abbas that a unity deal with Hamas would kill any hopes of restarting peace talks because Hamas refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence.
Last month, Hamas resumed rocket attacks against southern Israel from Gaza.