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Abbas swears in Palestinian unity government

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Palestinian unity govt.Palestinians swore in their first national unity government in seven years on Monday, a move condemned by Israeli but not other major players in the Middle East peace process, including the EU and U.S.

The move follows an agreement in April between the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, whose previous attempt to forge coalition collapsed in 2007 amid power-sharing disputes that turned violent. Memories of that conflict will loom large as the new technocratic government leads Palestinians into highly-anticipated elections in six months' time.

Israel has condemned the idea of a Palestinian unity government, citing a refusal of Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip, to denounce violence or recognize the state of Israel.

But both the U.S. and the EU — the two largest donors to Palestinian agencies — have indicated they are willing to give the new unity government a chance. In a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. will not make any decision on support until it has seen who is in the government, even though the U.S still considers Hamas a "terrorist group."


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