The new Palestinian unity government will be sworn in, on Monday, at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, according to the PLO executive committee. Additionally, US Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to the Middle East to meet with Abbas.Wasel Abu Yusef told Ma’an News Agency that the president’s office sent invitations to PLO executive committee members and ministers to attend the ceremony in which the new Palestinian government will be sworn in at 1 pm, on Monday.
He added that the obstacles that faced the unity government were overcome, with Hamas agreeing that Riyadh al-Malki would continue his role as Foreign minister, and that the issue on the Ministry of Detainees was resolved.
On April 23, an reconciliation agreement was signed, between Hamas and the PLO, with the goal of opening discussion for the formation of a new government of national unity. It would be for the first time in seven years that Fatah and Hamas worked in direct conjunction, but Israel strongly opposed the deal on the basis that Hamas rejects its right to exist.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday, after the Palestinians accused Israel of looking to punish them over the reconciliation, that world governments should not rush to approve the new Palestinian government.
‘I call on all responsible elements within the international community not to hurry to recognize the Palestinian government that Hamas is part of, and which relies on Hamas,’ he said to ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, saying it would ‘strengthen terror.’
Commenting on the latest Palestinian reconciliation agreement, including the agreement to form an interim unity government that would prepare for elections, Netanyahu was recently quoted as saying that Abbas chose to reconcile with Hamas, a movement regarded by both Israel and the United States, as a “terrorist group”, therefore, “the Palestinian President proved he is not interested in peace.”
He also accused Abbas of taking a hardline stance, and of not showing any flexibility in direct talks with Tel Aviv — this, ironically, back to back with statements boasting of his settlement building achievements in a recent meeting with young Likud supporters:
Responding to a question from the audience, Netanyahu said, “I was threatened in Washington: ‘not one brick’ [of settlement construction] … after five years, we built a little more than one brick…”
Asked “about peace talks with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu reportedly replied, “about the – what?” to which the audience responded by breaking out into laughter.
Abbas, however, has repeatedly pointed out that the national unity government will adhere to previous PA and PLO policies which recognize Israel.
President Abbas was recently quoted as saying that his collaboration with Israeli occupation forces is “sacred” and would continue even if the PA forms a “government” backed by the Palestinian military resistance organization Hamas.
Additionally, Abbas came under recent scrutiny by human rights group Amnesty International, recently, for the PA’s participation in the arrest of BDS activists Zaid Shuaibi, Fajer Harb, Fadi Quran, and Abed al-Fatah Hamayel, during a peaceful protest in Ramallah’s al-Qasaba Theatre on April 12.
In regard to the new government, Ma’an reports that Abbas has decided to appoint Akram Rajoub as governor of Nablus, replacing Jibreen al-Bakri who will become governor of Bethlehem, replacing Abdul-Fattah Hamayil, in addition to appointing Ibrahim Ramadan as the new governor of Jenin, replacing Talal Dweikat.
Both former governors of Bethlehem and Jenin Hamayil and Dweikat are to take residence at the presidential headquarters.
In related news, according to Jordanian daily newspaper al-Arab al-Yawm — and contrary to US reports that there will be no new Middle East peace project offered by the American Secretary of State, John Kerry — Kerry is vist to Jordan, Wednesday, where he will meet with Abbas to discuss the stagnated Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and the ongoing reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, among other issues.
Peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli officials officially came to a halt on April 29th of this year, with Israel reneging on a previous agreeent to free a fourth and final group of 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners — one which would have completed the agreement that brought the sides back to negotiations, last July — in addition to Israel’s ongoing illegal settlement expansion during the entirety of the negotiations.
Although the Israeli Prime Minister claims that he was ‘threatened in Washington’, collective reports clearly reveal that Secretary of State Kerry was complicit in Netanyahu’s agenda from the outset of the so-called ‘peace talks’. See IMEMC links:
Political divisions between Hamas and Fatah began in 2007, following a Hamas victory in legislative elections across the oPt. Hamas was, however, subjected to a boycott by Israel and Western countries, leaving the economy in a fragile state, according to Ma’an.
Furthermore, in the same year, Hamas accused Fatah members in the Gaza Strip of engineering a coup to bring down the government, leading to clashes in the streets and ending with Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip, and Fatah in the West Bank.