World

Palestinian unity Cabinet to hold first Gaza session, signaling end of absolute Hamas control

  • Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, center, arrives at the Palestinian side of the Beit Hanoun border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Members of the new Palestinian unity government assembled in Gaza on Thursday for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory - a largely symbolic meeting meant to mark the end of absolute Hamas control of the coastal strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, center, arrives at the Palestinian side of the Beit Hanoun border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Members of the new Palestinian unity government assembled in Gaza on Thursday for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory - a largely symbolic meeting meant to mark the end of absolute Hamas control of the coastal strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)  (The Associated Press)

  • Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah talks to media upon his arrival at the Palestinian side of the Beit Hanoun border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Members of the new Palestinian unity government assembled in Gaza on Thursday for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory - a largely symbolic meeting meant to mark the end of absolute Hamas control of the coastal strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah talks to media upon his arrival at the Palestinian side of the Beit Hanoun border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Members of the new Palestinian unity government assembled in Gaza on Thursday for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory - a largely symbolic meeting meant to mark the end of absolute Hamas control of the coastal strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)  (The Associated Press)

  • Members of the Palestinian security gather around the car carrying Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on a tour to destroyed houses in an area east of the Beit Hanoun border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Members of the new Palestinian unity government assembled in Gaza on Thursday for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory - a largely symbolic meeting meant to mark the end of absolute Hamas control of the coastal strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    Members of the Palestinian security gather around the car carrying Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on a tour to destroyed houses in an area east of the Beit Hanoun border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Members of the new Palestinian unity government assembled in Gaza on Thursday for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory - a largely symbolic meeting meant to mark the end of absolute Hamas control of the coastal strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)  (The Associated Press)

Members of the new Palestinian unity government are traveling from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip for their first Cabinet session there — a meeting meant to signal the end of Hamas' absolute control of the territory.

The meeting is set for later Thursday. It comes three days ahead of an international pledging conference where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seeks $4 billion for Gaza's reconstruction following the summer Israel-Hamas war.

By meeting in Gaza for the first time, the Cabinet, which reports to the Western-backed Abbas, hopes to reassure donors it can lead reconstruction efforts.

It's not clear, though, how much authority it will have on the ground. Hamas, which seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007, says it will step aside, but refuses to disband its security forces.