Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a new 24-member government on April 13. It is headed by Mohammed Shtayyeh, who, in addition to serving as prime minister, will be interim head of the PA’s Interior Ministry as well as its Religious Affairs Ministry. Two figures from the previous government, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Finance Minister Shukri Bishara, remain in their posts. The leadership of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip called it a “separatist government” with “no national legitimacy” that will “reinforce the chances of severing the West Bank from Gaza.” Hamas seized the coastal enclave from PA control in 2007 and has participated in on-again, off-again efforts aimed at reconciliation. It had agreed to the formation of the previous PA government, headed by Rami Hamdallah, in 2014, but accuses Shtayyeh of a willingness to accept an as-yet unrevealed peace plan being spoken of by the administration of US President Donald Trump.
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