News / Middle East

    New Palestinian Unity Government Sworn In

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) meets with ministers of the unity government, in the West Bank city of Ramallah June 2, 2014. Abbas swore in a Palestinian unity government on Monday under a reconciliation deal with Hamas.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) meets with ministers of the unity government, in the West Bank city of Ramallah June 2, 2014. Abbas swore in a Palestinian unity government on Monday under a reconciliation deal with Hamas.
    Scott Bobb
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has sworn in a unity government under a deal with rival group Hamas.  

    Abbas, who heads the mainstream Fatah Palestinian political faction, presented the reconciliation government at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
     
    "The government is a temporary one and its duty is to prepare for elections soon, in addition to its duty to help the people," Abbas said.
     
    Abbas said the new ministers are technocrats and independents who don't belong to either Fatah or Hamas and that the new government would abide by commitments made by previous Palestinian administrations and by agreements ratified by the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
     
    Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh gestures as leaves his office as a former Hamas government prime minister, in Gaza City June 2, 2014.Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh gestures as leaves his office as a former Hamas government prime minister, in Gaza City June 2, 2014.
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    Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh gestures as leaves his office as a former Hamas government prime minister, in Gaza City June 2, 2014.
    Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh gestures as leaves his office as a former Hamas government prime minister, in Gaza City June 2, 2014.

    The elections are aimed at ending a split with Hamas that began when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip seven years ago.
     
    Hamas is not a member of the PLO. It opposes negotiations with Israel, which it wants to destroy.
     
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his government would not negotiate with any Palestinian group that included Hamas. 
     
    He called on all responsible elements in the international community not to hurry and recognize a Palestinian government that included Hamas. Netanyahu said Hamas is a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and this will not strengthen peace, but rather strengthen terror.
     
    Abbas announced a reconciliation deal was imminent after talks broke down with Israel over reviving the stalled Middle East peace negotiations.
     
    Fatah and Hamas announced they were reconciling nearly two years ago, but implementation of the deal encountered many obstacles.
     
    Israel, following the Hamas takeover in Gaza, imposed a blockade on the enclave that crippled its economy and caused frequent shortages of basic goods.
     
    Gazans survived in large part on humanitarian aid and hundreds of smuggling  tunnels into Egypt. Most of the tunnels were destroyed after the coup last year that brought the military to power in Egypt.
     
    The new Egyptian government considers Hamas to be an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which it has vowed to destroy.

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