Gaza
Much of Gaza has been completed levelled during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas this summer.Reuters

Members of Palestine's new unity government has travelled to the Gaza Strip for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory to mark the end of Hamas control of Gaza.

The gathering, which will take place at midday, comes three days ahead of an international donor conference during which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will ask for $4bn to rebuild Gaza.

The Gaza Strip – the most densely populated land tract in the world – has been decimated, and in many parts levelled, during a 50-day war there this summer between Israel and Hamas.

Today's largely symbolic meeting is being held in part to demonstrate stability in the area, and is a chance for the government to reassure donors that it can lead the reconstruction efforts and that funds pledged for Gaza will not reach Hamas, which is largely regarded as a terror organisation by the West.

However, it remains unclear how much authority the new unity government led by Abbas will have in Gaza.

Islamic militants Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007. Although they have pledged to step aside from governing the area, Hamas has refused to disband its security forces.

The unity government was formed four months ago to replace rival governments in separate territories – one led by Hamas in Gaza and the other headed by Abbas in autonomous areas of the West Bank.

However it has not been operating in Gaza until now, due to unresolved disputes between Abbas and Hamas and relentless missile attacks on the territory.

Israel initially refused to deal with the government because it is backed by Hamas. Since this summer's Gaza war, Israel has signalled a new readiness to work with the Palestinian Cabinet towards rebuilding Gaza.