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Palestine swear in a new government

PALESTINE swore in a new government on Saturday amid warnings that the administration was not representative of the Palestinian people, representing a threat to unity between the West Bank and Gaza.

President Mahmood Abbas formed a new government with Fatah loyalists assuming key positions in the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

Mohammed Shtayyeh was named prime minister on March 10, replacing independent Rami al-Hamdallah, and will also take on the posts of interior minister and minister of religious affairs.

The swearing-in had to be repeated yesterday after a typo was discovered in the document signed on Saturday.

UN special Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Maldenov welcomed the announcement of a new government.

“The United Nations remains fully committed to working with the Palestinian leadership and people in ending the occupation and advancing their legitimate national aspirations for statehood based on UN resolutions,” he said.

But Hamas, which controls the besieged Gaza Strip, warned that the government lacked legitimacy, calling it a “blow to unity efforts” between the rival Fatah and Hamas factions.

A reconciliation agreement between the groups was signed in Cairo in 2017 but has never been implemented due to an ongoing dispute over power-sharing arrangements.

“This is a separatist government: it has no national legitimacy and it will reinforce the chances of severing the West Bank from Gaza,” a Hamas statement read.

The Palestinian Authority operates limited self-rule through a number of peace accords with Israel. It has been hampered by US funding cuts and the withholding of 5 per cent of its budget by Tel Aviv.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election last week presents a new threat to Palestinians. The Israeli Premier promised to annex further territory in the occupied West Bank during his election campaign.


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