The Palestinian Authority unity government took office. The Hamas-Fatah
coalition was sworn in Saturday in a joint parliamentary session in Gaza
City and Ramallah. P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the
more moderate Fatah, gave a conciliatory speech but his new partner in
power, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the hard-line Hamas, spoke in favor
of further “resistance” against Israel.
Jerusalem ruled out talks with
the new government given its refusal to accept year-old peacemaking
conditions set by the Quartet of foreign mediators. But there were signs
that some Western powers were wavering. Washington voiced alarm at the
P.A. platform, yet U.S. officials said they may talk to
its new finance minister, Salam Fayyad, who is not a Hamas member. France
invited P.A. Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr, another
political independent, to visit Paris. One Western country immediately
recognized the new P.A. government — Norway.