Senior Palestinian leaders have almost finalized the formation of the long-waited National Unity Government and agreed on all names of the cabinet ministers. A list of 25 names, which includes two women, will be presented to the Palestinian Parliament for approval on Saturday. The two women are proposed to handle the Women’s Affairs and Tourism Ministries.
Ismael Haniyeh will head this government, and Azzam Al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah’s Parliamentary bloc will take up the post of vice-premier.
The remainder of the portfolios will be distributed amongst candidates as follows:
Mahmoud Al-Aloul for the Ministry of Labor
Suleiman Abu Sneineh, Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs
Radwan Al-Akhras, Minister of Health
Khloud Deibis, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities
Sa’di Al-Krunz, Minister of Transportation
Ziad Abu Amr, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Bassam Al-Salhi, Minister of Culture
Salam Fayad, Minister of Finance
Hani Qawasmi, Minister of Interior
Mustafa Barghouthi, Minister of Information
Saleh Zidan, Minister of Social Affairs
Samih Al-Abed, Minister of Public Work
Nasser Eddin Al-Sha’er, Minister of Education
Yousef Al-Mansi, Minister of Communication and Information Technology
Suleiman Al-Shindi, Minister of Religious Affairs and Holy Sites
Samir Abu Aisha, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation
Mohammad Barghouthi, Minister of Local Governments
Bassim Na’em, Minister of Youth and Sports
Ali Sartawi, Minister of Justice
Mohammad Al-Agha, Minister of Agriculture
Ziad Thatha, Minister of Economy
Mariam Saleh, Minister of Women’s Affairs
Wasfi Kabaha, Minister without portfolio
Palestinians agreed to form the unity government in the Makkah meeting in February under Saudi auspices.
The upcoming government will be facing serious challenges, including lifting the US-led economic and political blockade which has resulted in a serious financial and political crisis in Palestine.
and from Al-Bawaba:
A new Palestinian unity government was unveiled on Thursday with the hope it will stop an international aid boycott.
The new coalition unites Hamas movement with Fatah party. Prime minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas presented President Abbas with the final list of ministers at a ceremony in Gaza City. “The prime minister-designate presented the final list of the government of national unity to the president who will approve it by decree,” Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.
The announcement came after the two sides decided on a candidate for the powerful interior ministry. Abbas’ spokesman told AFP that the president had selected Hani al-Qawasmeh.
In addition to the interior minister, Fatah and Hamas have already agreed to name independent Ziad Abu Amr as foreign minister and to return Salam Fayyad, a former finance minister, to that job.
The new Palestinian unity government will “respect” previous agreements with Israel, as stated in the Mecca agreement that led to the formation of the government, but will also continue to support “resistance,” according to excerpts from the new government’s platform, published Thursday on two Hamas Web sites.
According to Hamas, the new platform states that, “The government confirms that the resistance is a legitimate right for the Palestinian people.” It goes onto say that, “halting resistance depends on ending the occupation and achieving freedom and [the right of] return and independence.”
Additionally, the platform states, “The government abides by the protection of the higher national interests of the Palestinian people, and the protection of its rights … on the basis of that, respects international resolutions and agreements signed by the PLO.”
The new government, Hamas says, also recognizes that “the key to security and stability in the region is in the ending of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, recognition of the right to Palestinian self-determination.”
To that end, the document states, “the government will work with the international community to end the occupation, and to return the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”
The platform also deals with the issue of Palestinian refugees. According to Hamas, the government “holds fast to the rights of Palestinian refugees, and the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their land and belongings.”