Palestinian Authority Swears in New Government

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Palestinian Authority swore in its new government Thursday under newly appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Since 1998, the English professor has served as president of An-Najah University in Nablus (biblical Shechem) and as secretary-general of the Palestinian Central Elections Committee.

Many see the appointment of Hamdallah as a pawn in Abbas' hands -- an inexperienced academic who will do what he's told. Former acting Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's popularity with the West threatened Abbas.

Abbas appointed Fayyad acting prime minister of an "emergency" government in June 2007, when he dissolved a 3-month-old unity government with Hamas after it defeated P.A. security forces and took over the Gaza Strip.

P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas said his new government would achieve the "establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital." He also blamed the delay in forming a unity government with Hamas on not reaching an agreement on new elections.

"This government was supposed to be a unity government on the path to reconciliation," Abbas said. "What happened is that we did not yet agree on elections. There has been no positive sign from our brothers in Hamas on agreeing on elections."

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