Ministers in the new administration, whom Abbas has said would be politically unaffiliated, took the oath of office in a televised ceremony in Ramallah, the Palestinian seat of government in the occupied West Bank. Three ministers from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip were denied entry to the West Bank by the Zionist authorities.
Abbas, who heads the mainstream Fatah movement, has said the 17-member cabinet would be comprised of unaffiliated ministers and that it would strive to pursue peace.
“Today and after announcing the government of national unity we declare the end of division that caused catastrophic harm to our cause,” Abbas said.
At the inauguration ceremony, Abbas said the new government would abide by commitments made by previous Palestinian administrations and by agreements ratified by the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization.
Hamas had announced that it would not support the new administration because of a decision by Abbas to scrap the Ministry for Prisoner Affairs and replace it with a committee that would have fallen outside the control of the cabinet.
But Hamas official Salah Al-Bardaweel said it was agreed that the ministry would be given to Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah, “and the dispute between Hamas and Fatah has been resolved”.
The Zionist entity has urged the United States and Europe to shun any unity government supported by Hamas, regardless of whether the prisoners’ ministry survives.