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Palestinian Coalition Government Takes Office

  • VOA News

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sworn in the historic 25-member Fatah-Hamas coalition Cabinet.

The Palestinian ministers on Saturday were sworn in simultaneously in Gaza City and the West Bank city of Ramallah by way of video link due to Israeli travel bans. The new unity government will hold its first cabinet meeting Sunday, also by video link.

The Palestinian parliament voted overwhelmingly today to approve the new unity government. The vote clears a formal obstacle in the government's attempt to end a crippling international aid boycott of the Palestinian Authority.

Presenting the new government's platform, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the Hamas-led government will work towards establishing a Palestinian state in the lands Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Mr. Abbas called on Israel to stop all kinds of violence and aggression against Palestinians. The moderate Fatah leader said Palestinians are ready, without restrictions, to proceed with a negotiated peace with Israel.

Israel says it will not work with the new Palestinian government because it does not recognize the Jewish state's right to exist.

Eighty-three members of the 132-member parliament voted in favor of the landmark Cabinet on Saturday. Forty-one parliament members are in Israeli detention.

Mr. Haniyeh called on the United States to rethink its position on the Palestinian issue, and said he looks forward to having good relations between Palestinians and the American people.

But the United States says it will not negotiate with the Palestinian government until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel.

The United States, Israel and the European Union classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.
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