In the face of defiance from Hamas, Salam Fayyad and his emergency cabinet will begin trying to impose their authority in the Palestinian territories over the coming days. He was nominated Prime Minister by President Mahmoud Abbas whose Fatah group was routed by Hamas in Gaza earlier this week.
The Islamist faction has made it clear it will not recognise Fayyad. But, bouyed by international support, Abbas is standing firm. A spokesman said: “What happened in Gaza two days ago was a fatal mistake and a crime. It’s a coup and I think it’s a threat to the possibility of having an independent Palestinian state.”
Fatah supporters have been venting their fury in the West Bank. The situation remains volatile and there are fears of renewed clashes. Abbas’s administration will be hoping that diplomatic and financial support from abroad will help bring some stability.
Washington, the EU and Israel have indicated they may lift sanctions as the new government does not contain Hamas members. For ordinary Palestinains that cannot come soon enough.