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Palestinian Unity Government formed

2007-03-17

After months of attempts at forming a unity government, consensus was reached on ministerial positions for the new unity government, including the Prime Minister; consensus was also reached in other ministry positions divided between the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
The conditions for appointment include integrity, dedication to the national agenda, and expert status in the appointed field.  Members of the Hamas movement still hold key positions in the formed national unity government of Palestine. The formation was reached only after an agreement was made on February 8th at Mecca between Fatah and Hamas after weeks of bloody conflict.   What made the composition of the cabinet more difficult was the choice of the new Minister for Internal Affairs.  It is a key position, as it controls the territories security forces
The new government have 25 ministries: 12 including the Prime Minister for Hamas, 6 including the Deputy Prime Minister for Fatah, 4 for other parliamentary blocs each has one seat including: the Third Way, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People's Party,  and the Independent Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine decline to participate in the new government, the government also includes 3 independents making a total of 25 seats.17 members serving as new ministers and 8 veterans. 13 members out of the 25 members of the new government are non- Hamas. However the independent Interior minister has been nominated by Hamas which practically means that the majority still of Hamas.  The Cabinet members sworn in at Abbas office in Ramallah and Gaza.
The Government  win an easy vote of confidence by the Palestinanian Parliament (PLC), only the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ministers and one PLC member vote against.
The following is a list of the 25 ministers of the new Palestinian government.
__ Prime Minister: Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas, veteran
__ Deputy Prime Minister: Azzam al-Ahmed, Fatah, new
__ Foreign Minister: Ziad Abu Amr, independent, new
__ Finance Minister: Salam Fayyad, independent, new
__ Interior Minister: Hani Kawasmeh, independent, new
__ Information Minister: Mustafa Barghouti, independent, new
__ Telecommunication and Technology Minister: Yousef al-Mansi, Hamas, new
__ Waqf and Religious Affairs Minister: Mohammed Tartouri, Hamas, new
__ Planning Minister: Samir Abu Eisha, Hamas-backed independent, veteran
__ Local Governments Minister: Mohammed Barghouti, Hamas, veteran
__ Youth and Sports Minister: Bassem Naim, Hamas, veteran
__ Economics Minister: Ziad Zaza, Hamas, veteran
__ Justice Minister: Ali Sartawi, Hamas, new
__ Education Minister: Nasser al-Shaer, Hamas-backed independent, veteran
__ Agriculture Minister: Mohammed al-Agha, Hamas, veteran
__ Minister for Women's Affairs: Amal Siyam, Hamas, new
__ Tourism Minister: Khouloud Ihadeb Deibas, independent, new
__ Health Minister: Radwan al-Akhras, Fatah, new
__ Transportation Minister: Saadi al-Krunz, Fatah, new
__ Labor Minister: Mahmoud Aloul, Fatah, new
__ Public Works Minister: Samih al-Abed, Fatah, new
__ Minister for Prisoner Affairs: Tayseee Abu Sneineh, Fatah, new
__ Culture Minister: Bassam Salhi, Peoples Party (Communist), new
__ Social Affairs Minister: Saleh Zidan, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, new
__ Minister without portfolio: Wasfi Kabaha, Hamas, veteran

The new executives principal tasks will be to put an end to the political crises and subsequently armed conflicts and to push the end of the US-led blockade in order to lift economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed on the Palestinian Authority, following the 2005 election.
In order to obtain these goals, the Quartet (UN, USA, EU and Russia) have placed three conditions: recognition of Israel, acceptance of the international agreement reached by the PLO, with the Jewish State and the renunciation of all violence. Regarding this, the new government will “respect” the agreements with Israel, but will continue to support the “resistance”.
Fatah and Hamas hope that their careful selection of moderates filling government positions will satisfy enough the Quartet conditions to lift the economic and blockade, as expected, Israel has vowed to shun the entire government and has urged world powers to do the same, saying its reported program fails to meet the terms set by the quartet of Middle East mediators.
The new government is likely to pledge “respect” for past agreements, in line with a Saudi-brokered agreement reached by Hamas and Fatah in Mecca on February 8.The US has said that;  any Palestinian government must meet all the quartet's conditions, but has reserved judgment on the unity coalition. Hamas has rejected quartet demands that it recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept past peace deals with the Jewish state.
What is needed now is an Arab and Palestinian effort to develop the international position in favour of dealing and cooperating with the new government represting more than 95 % of the Palestinan voters.
Source: ATF


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