The Palestinian President has surprised members of Hamas by witholding approval for the cabinet formed by the militant group. Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh presented the document. His party failed to persuade any rival political faction to join them in forming a coalition government.
Moderate parties had come under US pressure to shun a Hamas-led administration, due to the group’s refusal to acknowledge the state of Israel and renounce armed struggle. Abbas said he would show it to the Palestine Liberation Organisation at a session to be held within the next two days.
A Fatah spokesman said, however, that the President is expected to give his approval:
“I have the names. Over the next 24 or 48 hours, I will convene a meeting of the PLO to inform them about the cabinet. After that, there will be a procedure in order to take the government to the PLC, to discuss it and to get approval”, said Abbas after the announcement. Meanwhile, it is feared a dispute over Gaza’s main cargo crossing at Karni could lead to a humanitarian crisis.
The Palestinians say it is causing a shortage of vital supplies like flour and oil. UN spokesman John Ging:
“We cannot make a distribution, we were to make a distribution today but we have used our reserves, we are the same as anyone else, we don’t have a reserve of supplies.”
Israel closed the Karni crossing two months ago, citing security concerns. The Israelis have offered to open an alternative but the Palestinians say it is too small to cope with the volume of produce.