RAMALLAH, West Bank -- A new government for the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority was sworn in Saturday, led by a veteran peace negotiator and harsh critic of Gaza's Hamas rulers.
President Mahmoud Abbas picked Mohammed Ishtayeh as prime minister, a move that deepens the internal Palestinian divide at a time when prospects for a peace deal with Israel are possibly at their lowest point ever.
A longtime adviser to Abbas and a senior member of his Fatah party, Ishtayeh and his 24-member cabinet took the oath of office at Abbas' headquarters in Ramallah.
Ishtayeh faces tremendous challenges, with the PA in a deep financial crisis following U.S. sanctions and Israel's withholding of $138
The new cabinet replaces a technocratic government formed by Rami Hamdallah in 2014 after an agreement between Fatah and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has run the Gaza Strip after ousting Fatah and evicting the PA in 2007. Despite enormous Egyptian efforts, the attempted unity government failed to reconcile the two groups.