Israel must not be recognized and the Palestinian Foreign Ministry should aim to establish a Palestinian State from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, in place of the Jewish State, PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar said according to Palestinian media reports.
Al-Zahar made the remarks during his first meeting with Foreign Ministry officials and ahead of the first session to be held by the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
Fatah officials, who are closely monitoring the situation, said in recent hours that prospects for the continued existence of the Hamas government appear slim. Such government would not be able to last as long as Hamas refrains from modifying its positions, which only serve to isolate the cabinet, the Fatah sources said.
The Hamas-led government's first session was Wednesday in Ramallah and Gaza and headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The session was held via satellite, with more than half of the government ministers staying in Ramallah.
During the session, Haniyeh announced "Palestinian coffers are empty", and added that his government inherited problems left behind by the previous Fatah-led government.
No diplomatic declarations were expected during the meeting, which was mostly dedicated to internal Palestinian affairs, and particularly efforts to battle the financial crisis faced by the PA through a three-month emergency plan.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian street is closely monitoring the new government's conduct and its chances of survival, while Hamas works to end the growing isolation faced by the government.
Elsewhere, London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported that Fatah is considering the establishment of a shadow cabinet that would operate along the Hamas government and be ready to take its place should the official government collapse.
Efforts to pay PA officials
Ahead of Wednesday's session, several Hamas ministers met Tuesday with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to discuss ways for the government and PA leader to work together.
Palestinian Finance Minister Omar Abdel-Razek said that the government continues to engage in fundraising efforts in order to pay the salaries of Palestinian officials. Starting this month, the Hamas government's mission will be first and foremost to guarantee the payment of salaries to approximately 150,000 Palestinian clerks and security personnel.
PA sources estimated that the delays in salary payments would in fact mark the beginning of the government's countdown toward collapse, but Hamas officials said that the movement plans on undertaken all efforts in order to prolong the government's life "for the sake of the Palestinian people."
In the meantime, the Hamas faction announced that it was making amendments in the distribution of roles in the faction. Following the appointment of Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar as the Palestinian government's foreign minister, Dr. Khalil al-Haya will be appointed the faction chairman. In addition, the faction decided on changes in the posts of the faction chairman's deputies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.