Ignoring the protests of Hamas, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a new government without his political rivals. Hamas has taken control in Gaza, but Abbas and his new Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are battling for the loyalty of all Palestinians. And there are already signs that things are changing. Israel has said there will be dramatic improvements in movement for West Bank Palestinians and promised that long withheld tax revenues will now be paid over.
The election of a Hamas-led government in January, 2006 brought Islamists Hamas and secular Fatah into direct conflict, coming to a head last week when Hamas fighters routed their rivals in Gaza. Gaza, outflanked and now cut off, faces fuel and food embargoes.
Hamas has said it does not want Gaza to become a mini state, but the swearing in of a new cabinet effectively leaves Palestinians with two governments and two prime ministers: one in Gaza, the other in the West Bank.