Friday, May 30, 2014

Abbas Seeks a New Government That Would Seal Alliance With Hamas

By ISABEL KERSHNER, NYT, MAY 29, 2014

JERUSALEM — President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority asked Rami Hamdallah, the prime minister, on Thursday to form a “government of national consensus” that would unite warring Palestinian factions for the first time in seven years and could send Israeli-Palestinian relations into a tailspin.

The new government, made up of politically independent professionals, would formally ally Mr. Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization, which is dominated by the mainstream Fatah faction, and its rival, Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, under the terms of a unity pact reached last month. Palestinian officials said the new government would most likely be announced in the next few days, with Palestinian elections to be held in about six months.

“This letter designates Dr. Rami Hamdallah to form a new transitional government,” Mr. Abbas said on Thursday at an appearance with Mr. Hamdallah, according to WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency. “I wish him luck in this difficult task which he will undertake.”

The possibility has disrupted any prospect of a resumption of American-brokered peace talks and already prompted stern warnings from Israel, which says it will not deal with a government “backed by Hamas,” even if the ministers themselves are not politically affiliated. Hamas has refused to recognize Israel, which, like the United States and the European Union, classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization.

(More here.)

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